A study carried out by economist Anthony Foley of DCU has found that the average consumption of alcohol fell by 7.6% between 2012 and 2013, meaning that alcohol consumption is now more than 25% lower than 2001 levels.
There was a decline in consumption across four different beverage categories - spirits consumption dropped by 11.9%, wine consumption fell by 8.9%, beer dropped by 6.2% and cider dropped by 2.5%. The adult population of Ireland declined by 0.1% in the same period.
The data for the study was compiled from CSO Population and Migration Estimates and the Revenue Commissioners’ alcohol clearance data.
“A notable feature of the 2013 situation is that average per adult consumption is now substantially below 11 litres per adult," said report author Anthony Foley. "By comparison, it was just below 11 litres per adult in 1990 and peaked at 14.44 litres per adult in 2001. Since 2001 the average per adult alcohol consumption has declined by 25.7% and consumption has now returned to pre1990 levels.”
“While increases in excise duty may contribute to a reduction in overall consumption, it does very little if anything to influence how alcohol is actually consumed," said Peter O’Brien, Chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. "The government’s punitive excise increases have not affected societal change and it is clear that we need evidence based solutions to solve the problem. We would urge the Government to reverse recent excise increases that penalise the moderate consumer and threaten the future of our jobs, investment, the on-trade sector and our farm purchases."