Irish cider exports to the UK rose by 342% last year from £25m to £112m. This raised total Irish drink exports to the UK by 45% from £204 in 2005 to £296m in 2006.

The figures from the Irish Food Agency Bord Bía highlight the continuing popularity of Magners in the UK.

"The success of Irish cider exports to the UK demonstrates the continued potential of strongly branded Irish drinks like Magners in the international market," said business analyst, Padraig Brennan.

The results are consistent with expectations and growth in Irish cider exports to the UK looks set to continue next year. He said: "I don't think growth will level off just yet.Magners is still new to the UK and so there is still plenty of growth potential."

Other categories that enjoyed an increase included mineral water - up 12% - and liqueurs, which were up 2%. Beer exports were flat, while whiskey and other spirits dropped 14%, according to the data.

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