A rise in low and no alcohol beer consumption, strong demand for spirits, and a desire to drink locally-sourced products are among the top trends set to impact the Irish drinks industry in 2020, according to an analysis by Drinks Ireland.
The analysis explored sales data for the Irish market for 2018 and 2019, as well as recent market research and international trends that Drinks Ireland believes are likely to be reflected in Ireland.
The five drinks trends that the organisation believes will be most prevalent in Ireland in 2020 are:
Low And No Alcohol Beer
Sales of low and non-alcoholic beer jumped by 60% in Ireland last year, to 30,000 hectolitres. While final figures are yet to be tallied for 2019, producers expect that this figure increased substantially again for the year.
A number of producers have released low and non-alcoholic brands to meet the growing trend of health and well-being, with many consumers cutting back on their drinking.
According to Drinks Ireland, there is still considerable room for low and non-alcoholic beer to grow in 2020 to meet rising consumer demand.
High Spirits For Irish Whiskey And Gin Producers As Consumers Go Premium
Irish consumers are increasingly choosing premium spirits, including Irish whiskey and gin, with more choice than ever on the market.
Provisional figures from Revenue show that sales of spirits increased by 1.8% in Ireland in the first three quarters of 2019, compared with the same period in 2018.
Irish gin has been the one to watch in the past two years and remains the fastest growing spirit in Ireland. Gin sales rose 31.8% in Ireland between 2017 and 2018.
As the market matures in Ireland, it is anticipated that the number of new gin players in the market in the country will decrease in 2020. However, consumer demand is expected to remain steady and probably grow.
Irish whiskey is the second most popular spirit in Ireland, with a 25.1% share of the market.
It is also increasing in popularity. Sales increased by 5.4% between 2017 and 2018.
Consumers Choosing Quality Over Quantity As They Drink Less
While diversity in the Irish drinks market is rife, the long-term trend shows that people are actually drinking less.
Since 2001, the average per adult alcohol consumption has fallen by 23.2% in Ireland, according to CSO and Revenue Commissioner Data.
This is line with the trend towards health and well-being, and the increase in demand for premium drinks products.
Love For The Homegrown As Consumers Buy Irish
Research from Bord Bia shows that Irish consumers love authenticity and locally-sourced food and drinks products, and this trend is on the rise.
Consumers reportedly value local food and drink because of benefits such as supporting the local economy and transparency, together with the sustainable aspect of buying from local producers.
There has been a recent surge in Irish whiskey distilleries, Irish gin and Poitin brands, and Irish craft beer products all meeting this demand.
Irish homegrown cider is also one to watch in 2020, as the popularity of cider is on the rise.
The most recent data shows that 75% of all cider consumed in Ireland was made in Ireland.
Irish Consumers To Be Offered More Drinking Experiences
Ireland tends to follow London when it comes to a number of drinks trends, including in the hospitality industry, according to Drinks Ireland.
From "cocktail escapism", which allows for total immersion in a sort of sensory chamber where you drink unidentified cocktails, to "around the globe" drinks experiences, London is at the forefront of a diverse drinks hospitality sector.
According to Drinks Ireland, this emerge is beginning to emerge in Ireland, with more consideration being given to a consumer's overall drinks experience.
Again, this is in line with a general move towards consumers being more considerate about how much, and indeed how, they drink.
An "Exciting Time"
Drinks Ireland director Patricia Callan stated, "Ireland has a long and proud history of brewing, distilling and cider production, but there's never been a more exciting time for Ireland's drinks industry.
"The growth and change has been driven by the industry's ability to innovate in order to respond to consumer demands at home and abroad. Ultimately, we see that consumers at home are choosing 'quality' over 'quantity', which is certainly positive for our industry.
"And demand for Irish drinks products, particularly spirits, is on the up in export markets, with the sector selling €1.4 billion worth of Irish drinks products in over 140 markets.
"While there are a number of challenges ahead for the industry, including US tariffs, Brexit and continuing high excise rates, we toast a strong 2019 and look forward to an even better performance in 2020."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.