New Revenue Clearance figures show that alcohol consumption fell by 10.8% in the first half of 2021 (January-June), compared with the same period last year.
This fall is a result of the closure of the hospitality industry, but is also in line with the long-term trend of consumption declining in Ireland, according to Drinks Ireland, which represents drinks manufacturers and suppliers.
The figures show that beer and cider sales were the hardest hit, down by 15% and 13% respectively.
Typically, around 60% of beer sales and 45% of cider sales are in Ireland’s pubs, restaurants, and hotels.
However, consumption was down across all categories, with wine consumption down by 11.5% and spirits down by 0.3%.
Alcohol Consumption Decline
The new figures confirm that alcohol consumption declined dramatically as a result of COVID-19.
The figures from the first half of 2021 are down by 14.1% compared with the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit.
“While the decline in alcohol consumption was accelerated by COVID-19, it should be noted that it is in line with the trend of consumption falling generally in Ireland over the past 30 years," Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland said.
Callan noted that the average alcohol consumption in 2020 was 29.8% lower than the peak of 2001.
"Overall, alcohol consumption declined last year by 6.6% to its lowest level in thirty years,” she added.