Drinks Ireland | Beer has released its annual beer market report, which states that total beer consumption fell by 2% in Ireland last year, while per capita beer consumption declined by 2.9%.
The report also states that new provisional Revenue clearance data released last week shows that beer sales fell by 17.4% year-on-year in April, May and June of 2020 due to the closure of on-trade venues as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
On-Trade Vs Off-Trade Sales
According to the report, 62.7% of all beer sales took place in the on-trade sector in 2019, with 80% of stout sales, 78% of ale sales and 53% of lager sales taking place in the on-trade sector, while 37.3% of all beer sales took place in the off-trade sector.
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The report states that, overall, total production was declined by 1% year-on-year on 2019, and Drinks Ireland | Beer said that production will be down much more significantly across the sector in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 crisis.
Exports And Market Share
The report found that beer exports increased by 8.5% in 2019, reaching €305 million, with the top five export markets for Irish beer being the UK, France, the USA, Germany and Canada, and beer was Ireland's favourite drink last year, with a 44.6% market share.
Direct employment among Drinks Ireland | Beer members increased marginally by 4% to 1,147 people last year.
Additionally, the report states that Ireland has the second highest beer excise in Europe after Finland, and the sector's excise contribution to the government last year was €421 million. Consequently, Drinks Ireland | Beer is calling for alcohol excise to be decreased in this year's Budget to help support the sector.
"Government Support Package Is A Priority"
Drinks Ireland | Beer director Jonathan McDade stated, "The government needs to set up a taskforce that is aimed at providing financial support for pubs that remain closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. With almost 50% of pubs remaining closed, a strong joined up government support package is a priority, to avoid mass closures.
"Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, 2019 was a challenging year for the sector with a decline in total beer sales and production. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown measures, the brewing sector faces an uncertain future due to its reliance on a vibrant and active hospitality sector. If there is no significant government intervention, many outlets will not be in a position to reopen come September.
"Despite these challenging times, Ireland continues to love beer, and it remains the nation's favourite drink. In recent years and prior to COVID-19, we saw significant innovation in the sector, resulting in more choice than ever for Irish consumers and an increase in the popularity of non-alcoholic beer. The sector continued to make an important contribution to the economy in 2019, with €421 million in excise receipts and €305 million worth of beer exports."
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