More than four in ten Irish adults are planning fewer visits to pubs for the remainder of 2022 due to cost-of-living pressures, new research shows.
The data has prompted the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland’s CEO, Paul Clancy, to call for urgent and substantive energy supports for the pub trade in Budget 2023.
Clancy said that pubs cannot pass on increases to customers already under financial strain.
The Curren Goodden Associates (CGA) Cost of Living Consumer Pulse Survey, carried out across Ireland and the UK last month, found that 42% of Irish adults plan to visit hospitality venues far less often between now and New Year’s Eve.
Sky-Rocketing Fuel Bills
The survey comes on the back of sky-rocketing fuel bills for Ireland’s 7,000 heavily energy-reliant pubs and a pandemic that saw the permanent closure of many licensed premises nationwide.
“The survey findings paint a bleak future for the pubs of Ireland, their staff, and the communities where they often provide a vital social hub,” said Clancy, whose organisation represents 4,000 publicans.
“With 42% of pub-goers expected to curtail visits due to cost-of-living pressures, it is vital that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe provides urgent and substantive energy supports to the pub trade in Budget 2023.
“Pubs cannot pass on increases to customers already under financial strain, and colossal energy costs are going to force pubs to close or reduce their winter opening times.”
Possible Pub Closures
Clancy highlighted that reduced footfall, coupled with an unprecedented rise in energy costs after 22 months of Covid lockdown closures and restrictions, means that we are almost certainly looking at the permanent closure of many more pubs.
While there has been a 21% decline in the number of pubs since 2005, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, research by the University of York and Newcastle Business School has highlighted the significant contribution of the Irish pub to the economy, with 50,000 people employed and €60.7 million generated in wages.
Consumer Disposable-Income Pressures
Across Ireland and the UK, the CGA survey – conducted among 1,000 adults who typically visit a hospitality venue every six months – found that 93% of consumers are expecting to spend more on household expenses.
The survey also found that, despite pressures on disposable income, the hospitality industry remains a vital part of consumers’ lives, with 69% agreeing that eating or drinking out is the treat to which they most look forward, with 80% stating satisfaction with the quality of the product and service on offer.