As the trade mission came to its final day yesterday, it was a busy one none the less for the Irish delegates.
The mission has been much publicised this week, with looking for alternative markets post Brexit the thinking behind the visit.
Minister Creed and his team of delegates took to come of Chicago's major retail outlets to help promote Irish businesses.
The main focus of yesterdays engagements being the Irish dairy and drinks sectors and also Ireland's Origin Green Stategy.
The day started with a breakfast meeting where Minister Creed introduced Ireland's Origin Green Strategy to US dairy representatives.
The MinisterÂ pointed to Ireland's histroy of goodÂ quality and great reputationÂ withinÂ European dairy markets. HeÂ also spoke of his pride at establishing connections with the US,Â âIreland isÂ proud to be a global leader in dairy, with an unparalleled reputation for quality, safety and sustainability. Its hard earned reputation sees Irish dairy products exported to approximately 130 countries each year."
Creed also spoke of Ireland's recent increased exports to the US as factor in helping develop these connections, "The US was the fifth largest market for Irish Dairy in 2016, and exports have grown by over 50% since 2012-13. We are proud to have a mutually beneficial trade and commercial relationship with the US, and are using this trade mission to build critical relationships and develop even closer ties to US customers and consumers.â
Speaking at the breakfast briefing event in Chicago, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy presented Ireland's Origin Green Programme to key dairy buyers from the Mid West.
Also speaking at the breakfast was Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, who said "Through our Origin Green programme at farm and processor level we offer independently verified solutions to US dairy buyers to the growing demand from their customers for sustainably produced dairy products."
The day continued with a trip to Glanbiaâs new Performance Nutrition Research and Development facility. This new facility has helped the company compete at the highest levels of the protein powder and supplement markets.Â
The delegation also took in a visit toÂ a Whole Foods Market store in Chicago, with the aim of promoting Kerrygold butter.
Kerrygold is currently the number one imported butter to the US and is now the 3rd largest butter brand in the US. Â
Creed spoke of the need to further help Irish brands, even those already successful,Â âItâs important to be able to support Irish brands, even world-famous brands like Kerrygold. Kerrygold is a respected and trusted brand here in the United States. Through promoting its association with grass-fed dairy production, it has enhanced the reputation of Irish dairy and Irish food generally across the US market.âÂ
The day came to a close with a promotional event at Binnyâs Store in Chicago, which currently stocks products from 30 Irish brand owners across spirits, liqueurs, beer and cider.
Irish beverages is fast becoming one of the fastest growing exports to the US. Last yearÂ Irish whiskey exports to the US rose by 17%.
Ireland has currently eleven distilleries with eight more in the development stages. This is a rapid increase considering there were only four in operation in 2012.
Minister Creed called it an exciting time for the beverage industry,âThis is a particularly exciting time in the development of the Irish drinks industry, with worldwide growth in spirits consumption and with new Irish distilleries coming on stream...Â These are making a significant contribution to employment and exports and to the social fabric and tourism infrastructure in both rural and urban areas. â
This took the group of delegates to the end of the US leg of their trip, and now they head off to Mexico for further meetings with the hope of giving Ireland a safety net with Brexit looming.