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."
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.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.