The CGA’s on-premise measurement (OPM) data has revealed that while the market isn’t quite back to pre-Covid levels, in 2022, total drinks volumes sales increased by 83% in the Republic of Ireland, and by 41% in Northern Ireland, compared to the previous year.
LADs (long alcoholic drinks) took the top spot as the winning category, increasing in value by €1.2 billion in the Republic of Ireland and by £97.6 million in Northern Ireland, as consumers sought out draught serves that the off-premise couldn’t recreate during closures.
Looking at the other categories, a third of consumers chose to drink cocktails, with the category increasing by 8% versus 2021. During the festive period, they became the third-most popular category among visitors, and 45% of consumers chose cocktails for a treat or special occasion. Some 62% of consumers in Ireland also said that they’re more likely to pay extra for a better-quality cocktail, highlighting the premiumisation opportunities for this category in the on-premise.
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The later day parts (after 8pm) saw spirits taking the top spot, with the return of nightclub and late-night bars allowing consumers to make up for the late-night occasions that they missed during Covid-19 restrictions. High-tempo drinks occasions were the most important over key celebratory dates like New Year’s Eve and St Stephen’s Day. This contributed to value gains for the spirits category in Q4, wherein it had its highest share of total drinks value, winning share from LADs in both countries.
City centres and towns regained trade in the first full year without restrictions, with Dublin gaining share of ROI versus 2021 and cosmopolitan consumers’ confidence in visiting the on-premise increasing by 18% versus 2021. This led to more frequent visits and a higher-than-average monthly spend out of home. Within this consumer segment, 55% visited the on-premise at least weekly – 11pp more than the average consumer.
As confidence in drinks-led occasions returned, restaurants lost share of value versus 2021, while pubs gained the most in Northern Ireland and bars took the top spot in ROI, with these two channels recovering best versus pre-Covid levels.
Consumers made up for missed opportunities in previous years, with occasions such as after-work drinks seeing an 11% increase, as workers returned to the office. Special occasions were also key for celebrations, with this being the most popular event among consumers.
Towards the end of the year, there was a pessimistic view of visiting the on-premise, with the cost-of-living crisis being prevalent in Irish consumers’ minds – 43% were unsure if they would visit, with some even planning on not going out over Christmas. However, the on-premise saw 88% going out for food and drinks in December, with 30% of consumers who went out more than they did in previous years, once again, motivated by missing out on those all-important occasions due to Covid-19.
The ‘making up for missed time’ attitude was key in driving Q4’s performance to be the strongest quarter of the year, as it reached 97% of Q4 2019 value in ROI and 91% in NI – the closest to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, and even over-indexing by 8% (ROI) and 5% (NI) versus the year as a whole.
Statement By CGA By NielsenIQ Client Director For Ireland
Sian Brennan, CGA by NielsenIQ client director for Ireland, said, “It’s clear that 2022 saw consumers in Ireland looking to make up for lost time, with many visiting the on-premise for those important special and celebratory occasions that they had missed during Covid-19 restrictions. While there was some pessimism in the pre-Christmas period due to cost-of-living concerns, ultimately, consumers couldn’t stay away from their favourite pubs, bars and restaurants. This reinforces how important this channel is to consumers, and that, despite rising costs, the on-premise remains a key priority.”
Read More: Gaelic And Hurling Fans A Key Opportunity In Ireland’s On-Premise, Notes CGA
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