Spirits Sales Soar While Beer Remains Favourite Among Greater Alcohol Slump

By Publications Checkout
Spirits Sales Soar While Beer Remains Favourite Among Greater Alcohol Slump

The latest report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) shows that spirit consumption in Ireland is increasing, while beer still holds the top spot in a decreasing alcohol market.

In Ireland, spirit consumption rose to claim almost 20% of the market share last year, an increase of 3.6%.

Wine consumption also experienced somewhat of a boom. Volume sales in 2017 were up 0.4% to take up 27.7% of the market.

While this is modest enough growth, the DIGI noted that wine sales have almost doubled over 16 years from when they took up 14.3% of the market in 2001.

Despite the rise in spirits and wine, beer still remains, by far, the nation’s most popular drink, making up a 44.8% share of the alcohol market. However, this represents a 2.1% drop in volume sales from the previous year.


Industry Hangover

The decrease in beer sales is shadowed by a decrease in total alcohol sales seen last year.

Average per adult alcohol consumption in 2017 was 11.080 lpa (litres of pure alcohol), down by 1.4% on the previous year. This is a 23% decrease of 14.44 lpa in 2001, and a 17.9 percent decrease on 13.488 lpa in the ten years since 2007.

Donal O’Keeffe, Secretary of DIGI and CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association, said the report demonstrates the diversity of the Irish drinks market.

He said, “The Irish drinks market is highly competitive and constantly evolving in line with consumer preferences and tastes.

“What we’ve witnessed over the last decade, but particularly over the last five years, is the growth of a nationwide network of businesses flexible and eager to serve shifts in consumer taste, and develop new, innovative products and services.”


Bracing For Brexit

O’Keeffe said that 92,000 people work in the drinks industry alone, and the combined hospitality sector, which includes pubs, hotels, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, retailers, manufacturers and distributors, employs almost 210,000 people across the country.

This accounts for 10% of all Irish jobs and approximately €1.25 billion worth of exports a year.

He warned that the Irish drinks industry faces a number of challenges that could plateau or reverse its upward growth. He said that Brexit is introducing uncertainty in the industry as it is becoming harder for exporters to plan for the future.

He said, “Considering its contribution to the economy, we hope that the Government continues to work with the Irish drinks industry and wider hospitality sector to help deliver the best possible Brexit, and to allow for the conditions necessary to make the domestic drinks market as productive and profitable as possible.”

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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