The volume of Irish beer exports rose marginally by 0.2% last year, generating approximately €273 million, according to the Irish Brewers Association.
The group released its annual Irish Beer Market Report 2017 yesterday (Thursday 19 July) which found that Ireland is the 8th largest exporter of beer in Europe.
While the amount of exports is increasing, the value of exports fell compared to 2016, where exports were worth €280 million. The IBA notes that the value of exports is still up significantly from 2014’s figure of €228 million.
The report reveals that the most popular destination for Ireland’s beer exports is the United Kingdom, followed by the United States. France, Canada and Germany are also popular destinations for Irish beer.
The report also highlighted the revolution currently underway in the craft beer industry, revealing that there are approximately 100 microbreweries operating in Ireland at present.
Production has soared since 2014, increasing almost 177% from 86,000 hectolitres to an estimated 238,000 hectolitres produced last year.
While production soars, consumption slipped last year, continuing the trend of lower alcohol consumption in Ireland.
Consumption of alcohol has fallen by 25% since 2005, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the ESPAD report shows a significant decline in underage alcohol consumption.
However, despite the drop in consumption, beer continues to bee Ireland’s favourite alcoholic beverage. Beer accounts for just under 45% of the market share of all alcohol consumed last year, with larger being the most popular variant, followed by stout and ale.
On-trade beer sales continue to outperform off-trade sales by 64.8% to 35.2%, according to the report. It adds that no other country in the EU has a higher percentage of on-trade than off-trade, which it says highlights the strength of Ireland’s hospitality sector.
The Irish beer industry directly employs 1,064 people and contributed €424 million to the exchequer through excise taxes in 2017. However, last year the excise rate on beer in Ireland was the second highest in the European Union, and the IBA has called on the government to reduce it to benefit both the industry and its consumers.
“Beer is a significant economic and cultural asset in Ireland. Beer drinkers in Ireland must endure the second highest rate of excise tax in the EU and so I call on the Government to reduce the rate of excise on beer in Budget 2019,” said Jonathan McDade, Head of the IBA.
It also called for the removal of the requirement for cancer warnings on alcohol products, with McDade saying that it is a “disproportionate measure that represents a barrier to trade”.
“It could also impact the growth of Ireland’s craft beer sector. It is anticipated that it will cost approximately €50,000 to redesign an entire suite of labelling for a single product line and additional stock control costs will also arise. Smaller producers will be impacted significantly as they will be less able to absorb costs,” McDade said.
“It will cause huge reputational damage to Ireland’s beer industry. No other country in the world has mandatory cancer labels on alcohol products, and such a measure applies a stigma to products made in Ireland.
“We believe that the objectives of the Alcohol Bill could be achieved through more effective and less trade restrictive means, which would tackle the issue of alcohol misuse and would not unnecessarily damage this industry.”
© 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.