Alcohol consumption declines by 30% in two decades

The Health Research Board's report shows that Ireland's average alcohol consumption now stands below that of the United Kingdom and several European countries

A significant trend towards zero-alcohol products has emerged in Ireland witnessing exponential growth and promoting moderation (Photo by Abhinav Bhardwaj via Pexels)

A report from the Health Research Board (HRB) has shown alcohol consumption in Ireland has fallen again and is now over 30% lower than twenty years ago. Drinks Ireland, the Ibec sector that represents the industry has said. 

This report is in line with other recent findings that overwhelmingly show a decrease in overall consumption, which predated the introduction of the Public Health Alcohol Act. 

Ireland’s average alcohol consumption now stands below that of the United Kingdom and most European countries, including Spain, France and Germany.  Spearheaded by 18–25-year-olds, but evident across all age groups, we are consistently showing that we are taking control of our own habits and evolving in the way we enjoy a drink. Also notable is a move towards zero-alcohol products, which have seen exponential growth in Ireland, and offer choice that supports moderation.

The closure of many pubs- often the social heart of many communities- is partly a result of some of the highest levels of excise duty in the European Union. 

The HRB report shows that substantial progress has been made. These positive trends will continue, with a focus on education and awareness amongst consumers, and the implementation of evidence-based policies, not just regulation and restriction. We would welcome lending our expertise and market insight to policy engagement to continue to help further promote moderation.

Cormac Healy, director, Drinks Ireland, said: “Drinks Ireland welcomes the recent findings from the HRB and the positive trends in Irish drinking habits it reaffirms. There is a clear consumer trend towards greater moderation. The report showcases a notable decline in hazardous drinking patterns since 2010 and a delay in the onset of alcohol use among younger people. Ireland also saw a decrease in per capita alcohol use during the pandemic. Consumption remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.” 

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free