The annual Irish Beer Market Report from Drinks Ireland shows that the COVID pandemic resulted in a 46% fall in production between 2020 and 2021, with sales down by 1.3% and per capita consumption down by 2.3%.
Overall alcohol consumption continues to decline dramatically in Ireland, according to Drinks Ireland.
According to the report, stout sales were hit heavily, as stout is mostly consumed in the on-trade. Prior to COVID-19, approximately 30% of beer consumed in Ireland was stout. This fell to 25.3% in 2020, but rose by 6.9% to 32.2% last year.
Lager, which was more popular during COVID-19 as it was consumed at home, saw its market share fall last year by just over 8.3%, while ale’s market share was up by 1%.
Non-alcoholic beer is also becoming increasingly popular, with its market share being up from 1.1% in 2020 to 1.5% in 2021.
Managing director of the Porterhouse Brewing Company and chair of Drinks Ireland Peter Mosley stated, “Today’s report illustrates the significant impact the pandemic continued to have on Irish brewers last year, with production particularly hit. There were some signs of early recovery, as consumers returned to the on-trade in the second half of the year. Prior to COVID just over 60% of beer sales were in Ireland’s pubs, restaurants, and hotels. In 2020 an estimated 29% of beer sales were from the hospitality sector, but this rose to 46% in 2021.
Director of Drinks Ireland Jonathan McDade stated, “Following two of the most challenging years for the brewing sector and the ongoing issue of spiralling business costs, we are calling for an excise reduction in this year’s budget. This would enable more investment and innovation within the sector. It would also benefit hard pressed consumers, facing rising cost of living pressures.”