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Ireland’s Stout Sector Heavily Impacted By COVID-19 Pandemic, Survey Shows

Ireland’s stout sector was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with production and domestic sales down between 2019 and 2021, but recovery is now underway, according to Drinks Ireland|Beer.

To mark International Stout Day (Thursday, 3 November) the representative voice for the beer industry in Ireland has released the latest data on the stout sector.

Stout Consumption

The figures show that consumption of stout by volume in the domestic market recovered by 25.7% between 2020 and 2021, but was still down by 10.3% compared to 2019 pre-pandemic sales.

While overall alcohol consumption declined during the pandemic, the general longer-term trend in Ireland is also that consumption is falling, down by around 33% since 2001.

While the volume of consumption declined, stout grew its share of the beer market, with its percentage share of consumption up by 6.6% between 2019 and 2021.

It also grew its percentage share of production, up by 5% during this time.

Stout is generally very popular in the on-trade, which was closed or severely restricted over much of 2020 and 2021.

On-Trade Vs Off-Trade 

According to the research, in 2019, 80.9% of stout consumed was in the on-trade, with 19.1% from the off-trade.

The share of stout consumed in the on-trade fell by 52.3% from 2019 to 2021 to 38.6%, with 61.2% consumed from the off-trade last year.

The volume of stout sales in the on-trade fell by 57.2% during this time.

While figures for 2022 aren’t available yet, Drinks Ireland|Beer notes that recovery in the beer sector was underway in the second half of 2021 as venues reopened.

'Recovery Underway'

This recovery will have been further supported as all hospitality restrictions were removed earlier this year, with indications of a strong summer behind us.

Jonathan McDade, director of Drinks Ireland|Beer, commented, “Irish stout is renowned the world over, so it’s positive to see some of the recovery underway after two difficult years. Despite challenges in the market, such as inflationary and cost of living pressures, we hope to see a strong winter ahead, particularly this festive season.

“There are a range of great options for stout drinkers in Ireland, with new products hitting the market in recent years, including non-alcoholic alternatives.”

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