Closure Of Hospitality Sector Had 'Profound Impact' On Irish Brewers, Report Finds

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Closure Of Hospitality Sector Had 'Profound Impact' On Irish Brewers, Report Finds

The closure of the hospitality sector in Ireland last year led to beer sales declining by 17.3%, while production was down by 13.8%, according to a new report by Drinks Ireland|Beer.

Just 29.7% of the beer sold in Ireland last year was through hospitality businesses, down from more than 60% in 2019, an indication of the 'profound impact' that COVID-19 had on the brewing sector, the group said.

In addition, the Irish Beer Market Report 2020 detailed how the value of beer exports declined by 17% in 2020, from €305 million to €254 million.

The most significant fall in exports was to the United States, which were down by 45%.

Lockdown also influenced the type of beers that Irish drinkers tended to consume – stout usually accounts for 30% of all beer sales, but fell to 25.3% last year, due to the closure of pubs.


In addition, ale's market share dropped from 6.2% in 2019 to 4.1% in 2020, while lager increased its market share from 63.5% to 69.5%.

'Valuable Contribution'

“Ireland’s beer industry is dynamic, innovative, and makes a valuable contribution to the economy," commented Peter Mosley, managing director of the Porterhouse Brewing Company and chair of Drinks Ireland|Beer.

"In 2019, prior to COVID-19, exports were valued at €305 million and we have seen a stream of new products coming onto the market from Irish brewers in recent years, including low and non-alcoholic variants."

The fact that hospitality businesses remain closed, more than a quarter into the current year, indicates that challenges are likely to continue for the brewing sector in 2021, he added.

“Coupled with a fall in sales for Irish beer, brewers have also provided extensive financial support to their hospitality customers at a heavy cost," he said, "carrying out keg uplifts, and organising for the disposal of unsold and out of date beer in an environmentally friendly manner.”

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