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Beer Sales Fell 17.4% During COVID-19 Lockdown

The latest Drinks Ireland | Beer annual beer market report, shows that beer sales fell by 17.4% year-on-year in April, May and June of 2020.

This is due to the closure of on-trade venues as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the group said.

The new report shows that total beer consumption in Ireland fell by 2% last year, with per capita beer consumption down by 2.9%.

“The Government needs to set up a taskforce that is aimed at providing financial support for pubs that remain closed due to the COVID-19 crisis," said Jonathan McDade, director of Drinks Ireland|Beer.

"With almost 50% of pubs remaining closed, a strong joined up Government support package is a priority, to avoid mass closures," he added.

'Most Heavily Impacted'

According to the new Revenue figures, which was released last week, beer was the most heavily impacted drinks sector from COVID-19 in terms of sales.

This is due to the closure of the on-trade, where the majority of beer produced in Ireland is consumed.

In 2019, 62.7% of all beer sales were in the on-trade and 37.3% were in the off-trade.

Furthermore, 80% of stout sales, 78% of ale sales and 53% of lager sales were recorded in the on-trade sector.

Overall, total production was down marginally between 2018 and 2019 by 1%.

Drinks Ireland|Beer has said that in 2020, production will be down much more significantly across the sector as a result of COVID-19.

McDade noted that prior to the COVID crisis, 2019 was a challenging year for the sector with a decline in total beer sales and production.

"As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown measures, the brewing sector faces an uncertain future due to its reliance on a vibrant and active hospitality sector," he added. "If there is no significant Government intervention, many outlets will not be in a position to reopen come September."

Exports Increase

The new report also found that beer exports increased in 2019 by 8.5%, reaching €305 million.

The top five export markets for Irish beer last year were the United Kingdom, France, the USA, Germany and Canada.

Direct employment among Drinks Ireland|Beer members was up marginally last year by 4%, from 1,103 people to 1,147 people.

Drinks Ireland|Beer’s report also confirms that beer is Ireland favourite drink, with a 44.6% market share in 2019.

Lager is Ireland’s most popular beer (63.5%), followed by stout (29.3%), ale (6.2%) and non-alcoholic beer (1.0%). There was an increase in non-alcoholic beer sales between 2018 and 2019.

The sector is also under pressure a result of beer excise, which is the second highest in Europe after Finland.

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