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Ireland's On Premise Rebounds As Spirits Sales Soar, Says CGA

By Dave Simpson

Other than a few lingering restrictions in January, 2022 has been Ireland's first year free of COVID-19 constraints. As the market attempted to normalise, there was a real sense of a "new normal" through the first half of 2022. CGA by NielsenIQ's latest research in the Ireland market highlights some of the key trends during this period.

Details

CGA's OPM (on premise measurement) data for Ireland in the six months to June 2022 vs three years ago reveals that more consumers are opting for serves they cannot recreate at home, and city centres are showing promising signs of recovery.

The on premise is showing signs of premiumisation.

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Some 93% of on premise outlets returned to being fully operational, although 7% were lost as a result of the lasting impacts of COVID-19. Long alcoholic drinks (LAD) volumes returned to 84%, with outlets failing to return to 2019 levels. But there were higher value sales of 89%, as the market showed signs of premiumisation, and prices increased by +6.2%. Spirits were slower to return volumes, settling at 72%, though 75% value also reflected signs of premiumisation.

Consumers are choosing serves they could not recreate at home.

From a segment perspective, consumers continued to revisit the segments that were most heavily impacted by operating restrictions. As a result, wet-led venues continued to push ahead, with spirits leading the way. These revitalised segments grew in share by +2.1pp vs 2019, accounting for 78% of the Irish spirits market. LADs enjoyed a more stable market vs three years ago but, as with spirits, pubs saw the biggest growth within LAD (+0.6pp).

City centres recovered well - for spirits rather than LAD.

Regionally, Cork and Dublin gained a greater share of the spirits sales mix (+1.3pp and +3.8pp respectively), with consumers returning to city centre areas. At the opposite end of the scale, Leinster saw the biggest decline vs 2019 in spirits, down by -3.8pp. Again, the LAD market remained more stable, with the biggest win in Connaught and Ulster, up by +1.2pp vs three years ago, compared to the biggest decline in Cork, (-0.8pp).

Stout is a top performer.

With consumers craving those serves that couldn’t be replicated at home during lockdowns, Stout continued to dominate within LAD, growing in share by +3.9pp vs 2019. The appetite for an authentic on premise serve was further evidenced, with draught continuing to gain from the packaged format. As a result, draught LAD share was up +3.1pp, whilst packaged lager was down -2.1pp and ale was down -1.5pp.

Cocktails drive the growth of vodka.

Vodka continued to lead in spirits. Driven by the return of on premise drinking and the popularity of cocktails, it accounted for 27.9% of the spirits category, up by +1.8pp versus three years ago. In addition, liqueurs and specialities was the second largest growth category, up by +1.4pp vs 2019, as consumers increasingly opted for cocktails. Demographically, the slower return of older consumers may have caused whiskey to be the most significant loser in spirits, declining by -1.9pp. Gin also lost -0.6pp share.

Statement By Client Director - Ireland

Sian Brennan, client director - Ireland, said, "It felt like the sector was just starting to find its feet again after COVID-19, when the cost-of-living crisis started to loom large. Despite more market turbulence, wet-led sales held their own for the first part of 2022, with an appetite for higher value products presenting an opportunity for sales growth in premium categories. And, the fact that stout and draft were big winners is encouraging - it’s acknowledgement from the consumer that there's no substitute for a real pint pulled in a pub."

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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