Consumers demonstrate growing graw for spirits

Beer remains the nation's most popular drink, making up 45.2% of the alcohol product market last year, an increase of 2.7% in the volume of beer consumed according to The Drinks Market Performance 2018 by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley and commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland.

Elsewhere, cider’s market share increased by 0.4% to 7.5% of all consumption while wine decreased by 2% in 2018 to an overall share of 26.7% after a small increase in 2017 but since 2001 wine’s alcohol market share has almost doubled. It remains the second most popular drinks category.

Drinks consumers have a clear growing taste for spirits though according to the report published today.

Spirits made up 20.5% of the alcohol product market last year, a 5.6 % increase compared to the previous year.

Overall though, consumption has remained at a stable level since the previous year, with a competitive domestic market between all the alcohol categories.

Average adult alcohol consumption in 2018 was just over 11 Litres of Pure Alcohol relative to 2017, a tiny increase of 0.1%.

This is over 23% lower than in 2001 (when alcohol consumption was it its peak of over 14.44 LPA) and a decline of almost 18% since 2007.

The report, published ahead of the launch of DIGI’s 2019 Support Your Local campaign, also shows that although the Irish retail sector recorded a 3.7% increase in sales volumes overall last year, bar sales volumes (including food and other sales as well as alcohol) decreased by 1.3%. This decline includes an estimated 2% decline in alcohol volume, countered by a small increase in food volume.

The Support Your Local campaign seeks to highlight the positive economic, cultural and social contribution that the drinks and wider hospitality industry makes to Ireland while calling for Government supports to ensure the continued growth, development, protection and sustainability of the industry.

“The Irish drinks market continues to showcase its contribution to Irish society as it consistently innovates and invests in line with consumer preferences and tastes,” commented DIGI Chair and Communications and Corporate Affairs Director at Irish Distillers Rosemary Garth, “What we’re seeing in an industry that directly and indirectly employs 90,000 people in businesses and entrepreneurs constantly proving their competitiveness and eagerness to grow, adapt and shift their own business models to develop new, innovative products and services.

“An increase of 5.6% in the market share of spirits is no surprise and proves the determination of Irish distilleries.

“However” she warned, “with many challenges facing the industry this year, state support and protection are needed to avoid a plateauing of an essential sector in this country and indeed to cease the rapid number of pub closures in every county.

“The drinks industry is integral to Ireland’s economic wellbeing and development. The combined drinks and hospitality sector, supports over 250,000 jobs across the country, that’s over 10% of all jobs,” she stressed.

“As the Government sets its agenda for a post-Brexit future, creating a business environment that’s conducive to continued innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly within Ireland’s drinks and hospitality industry, must be a key priority.

“This industry must continue to innovate and invest in itself to sustain its development, realise its potential and drive Ireland’s competitiveness on a European and international level. Therefore – and considering its contribution to the economy – we’re asking the Government to review its current alcohol taxation policy and to work with the Irish drinks industry and wider hospitality sector to help deliver the best post-Brexit life in order to allow for the conditions necessary to make the domestic drinks market as productive and successful as possible.”



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