Total production grew 2.6 per cent from 8.04 million Hectolitres to 8.25 million Hectoliters in 2010 although employment continued to decline from 1,609 to 1,441 during this time.
Exports apart, total domestic consumption declined a further 0.84 per cent from 4.855 million Hl to 4.814 million Hl, reducing the per capita consumption once again to 90 litres from 91 litres. Exports continued to grow its share of net production to 42 per cent from 40 per cent in 2009.
As a category, Draught Beer sales also declined from 63.6 per cent of the overall beer market to 61.7 per cent while bottled beer grew its share by a percentage point to 15.8 per cent from 14.9 per cent. Lager continued to dominate the beer market in 2010, growing its share from 58.5 per cent to 60.2 per cent. Stout’s share dropped from 35.5 per cent to 34.1 per cent and Ale’s share fell from 6.0 per cent in 2009 to 5.7 per cent last year.
The off-trade continued to increase its share of the beer market, growing from 28.9 per cent in 2009 to 33.4 per cent in 2010.
Overall, beer enjoyed a reduced share of the overall alcohol consumption market, falling from 51 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent last year while wine grew share from 23 to 26 per cent. Spirits too enjoyed an increased share growing by one percentage point to 19 per cent of the alcohol market as Cider fell by one percentage point to eight per cent.
The declining consumption of beer was also reflected in the amounts taken in excise which fell from €404 million in 2009 to just €320 million in 2010. Spirits sales also took in just €244 million (compared to €264 million in 2009) and Wine witnessed a reduction of €24 million to €219 million while Cider excise receipts fell from €57 million to €44 million leading to an overall tax take by the Exchequer totalling just €826 million – down from 2009‘s €968 million – with beer contributing 39 per cent to the total take.
Ireland’s per capita beer consumption figure of 90 litres puts us in fourth place in the EU 27, well below that of the Czech Republic at 159 litres, Germany at 110 litres and Ausria at 106 litres. Still, it’s above the UK at 81 litres and even Belgium at 76 litres.