General Industry

Hospitality Ireland Presents Round-Up Of Irish Drinks And Food News

By Dave Simpson
Hospitality Ireland Presents Round-Up Of Irish Drinks And Food News

Hospitality Ireland presents a round-up of Irish drinks and food news.

Overall Alcohol Consumption In Ireland Declined By 6.6% In 2020

Overall alcohol consumption in Ireland declined by 6.6% in 2020, according to Drinks Ireland.

Drinks Ireland stated, "Ireland's COVID-19 lockdowns were by far the longest in Europe for pubs, bars, and restaurants according to 2020/2021 Drinks Ireland Annual Review, published today. The Review shows, however, that the drinks industry showed remarkable resilience, with companies producing hand sanitizer and working to help shuttered bars and restaurants in the early stages of the pandemic and working together to ensure the safe reopening of the hospitality sector when it was permitted.

"Drinks Ireland has said that it's important that the hospitality sector remains open in 2022, as Ireland lives with COVID-19, and remaining restrictions are eased as early as possible.

"The 2020/2021 Annual Review shows;


  • "Periods of global closure of the on-trade and global travel retail over the last two years, as well as restrictions in supply to off-trade channels in some markets, saw overall alcohol consumption decline by 6% worldwide in 2020 and by 6.6% in Ireland.
  • "The Irish drinks industry immediately joined the national effort to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in many positive ways, including through producing hand sanitizers (or producing alcohol for such products) and making donations to support unemployed bar workers and charities working with more vulnerable groups in our society.
  • "Irish brewers, distillers and wine importers extended credit lines to support customers in the on-trade, and when product went out of date during the repeated lockdowns, in a massive logistical undertaking, collected beer and cider from 7,000 outlets throughout the country and disposed of it in an environmentally friendly manner at no cost to the pubs.
  • "Government supports to help the hospitality sector with cashflow, assist exporters re-enter foreign markets and to encourage domestic tourists visit brewery and distillery visitor centres were vital.

"The Review also highlights the fact that beer remains Ireland’s favourite alcohol  beverage but that the closure of the hospitality sector saw beer sales decline by over 17% in Ireland, with the share of beer sold in hospitality businesses down from 60% in 2019 to less than 30% in 2020. Wine is Ireland’s second favourite alcoholic drink with sales rising due to wine's association with home consumption coupled with the hospitality sector lockdowns. Sales of spirits, the country's third favourite category of alcoholic drink, dropped by nearly 5%, while Ireland's fourth favourite drink, cider, saw sales hit hard by the closure of pubs down by over 11%.

"Pat Rigney, Drinks Ireland Chair and Managing Director and Founder of The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo, which makes Gunpowder Irish Gin, said, 'Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the drinks industry was going from strength to strength. In 2019, it generated exports to over 140 markets, worth €1.45 billion, and contributed €2.6 billion in VAT and Excise payments to the exchequer. Our industry is particularly important to the rural economy, with the hospitality sector a presence in every town and village, and many breweries and distilleries located outside the big cities. There is no doubt that the sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While the industry rallied to support the national effort in the fight against COVID-19, our members continued to be significantly impacted across production, export, and sales. We have seen remarkable resilience in the sector, however, driven by continued innovation. We now need to look forward to drive recovery in the sector. The trends we expect to continue in 2022 include the ongoing shift to quality over quantity by consumers, a growth in the Ready To Drink (RTDs) category and the no and low alcohol category, the continued popularity of craft cider and beer, as well as Irish gin and Irish whiskey from producers around the country.'

"Patricia Callan, Director, Director of Drinks Ireland, said, 'Ireland's lockdowns were by far the longest in Europe for pubs, bars, and restaurants. During these hard times, the drinks industry showed resilience by working together. This included our distilleries changing over to production of hand sanitizer, our members offering financial and in-kind supports to the hospitality sector and charities, as well as the massive operation to collect and dispose of out-of-date beer and cider in an environmentally sound manner at no cost to the pub sector. This strength was further demonstrated at the various stages of reopening. The industry continuously prepared, and worked hard, for a safe and sustainable reopening, showing itself as a responsible player throughout the pandemic. As we look at 2022, it’s vital that hospitality venues remain open, and restrictions are eased as soon as possible.'"

Irish Sodexo Executives Recognised In UK Women To Watch Index

Irish Sodexo executives have been recognised in the UK Women to Watch Index.

Sodexo stated, "Two Irish senior executives working for Sodexo, Aoife Wycherly and Deirdre Saunders, have been recognised as role models in the UK's 'Women to Watch & Role Models for Inclusion in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (HTL) Index 2021'.


"The Index is produced by WiHTL (Diversity in Hospitality Travel and Leisure) in partnership with the MBS Group and features 62 women and 13 advocates for change from across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry in the UK.

"Former UCC graduate Aoife Wycherley is head of food procurement and head of supply chain at Sodexo UK and Ireland, with responsibility for annual spend in the region of €175m annually, which she manages from her base in rural Cork.

"Former TU Dublin graduate Deirdre Saunders is a divisional director for Sodexo, with responsibility for more than half of its employees based in the Republic and Northern Ireland. A member of the Sodexo Ireland senior leadership team,  Deirdre oversees contracts representing €50 million turnover, with clients in the professional services, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and education sectors.  Dublin-born Deirdre is also the diversity, equity and inclusion lead for Sodexo in Ireland.

"Aoife is passionate about responsible procurement and was instrumental in the launch of Sodexo's supplier inclusion programme in 2015. The programme continues to this day, helping small, medium enterprises (SMEs) and voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs) not only become part of Sodexo's supply chain but providing them with valuable business advice and mentoring to help make their businesses a success.

"As a result of her commitment to supplier inclusion,  Aoife has recently been appointed chair of the UK’s Business Services Association's (BSA) SME committee. She has also received recognition for her work on responsible procurement from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) as well as Enterprise Nation, MSDUK and SEUK.


"Aoife said, 'It is an honour to be included in this Index. I am firm believer that there is always something more to learn, at Sodexo we have changed the conversation from diversity and inclusion to diversity, equity and inclusion but we must all remember that having the conversation is one thing, but we must also look at the delivery piece and ask yourself, what are we actually doing to orchestrate change and create a truly inclusive workplace.'

"Deirdre said, 'I am delighted to be included in the 2021 Index, I am very passionate about sharing my own experiences to help develop leaders in our business and in supporting all our colleagues to understand the importance and steps they can take to ensure their workplace and the wider market is inclusive. My hope in sharing my story and my experience is that I will inspire others to realise their full personal and professional potential.'

"Diversity, equity and inclusion have long-been heralded by Sodexo as real differentiators and it endeavours to make these values part of its DNA and through its Social Impact Pledge it has committed to creating social contracts that support equity, inclusion and wellbeing.

"Sean Haley, region chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said, 'I am immensely proud to see Aoife and Deirdre included in this Index.  At Sodexo we recognise that everyone’s unique background, experience, and abilities are at the heart of our vibrant workforce and truly reflect the communities we serve. Which is why we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture where our employees feel valued and respected as individuals.

"'Aoife and Deirdre are not only role models for the industry, but their efforts are also respected and recognised at all levels within Sodexo too. Huge congratulations to both, this recognition is well-deserved.'"

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.