As we wrap up 2023 and take a look back at the year just gone, the general consensus from publicans we have spoken to is that business has been strong over the past six to 12 months. This is not to say it hasn’t come with its challenges. These have come in the form of cost-of-living pressures, severe weather events and an overall wet summer. And of course there’s no hiding behind the fact that alcohol consumption is slowly falling giving rise to the non-alcoholic drinks market with non-alcoholic beers now making up 2% of beer market, according to Heineken. Change is happening but the most important thing to note is that people still want to socialise and visit the pub.
CGA’s Opus 2023 report told us that food-led occasions remain the core driver to the trade, with 37% of all Ireland consumers going out weekly for food-led visits, increasing by +1pp versus last year. Thankfully, the restrictions faced by the trade during the pandemic are fading memories as people are back out socialising in their droves, meeting in groups and embracing each other with abandon again.
While the stresses and strains of running a business cannot be ignored, especially at this time of the year, with staff calling in sick, customers cancelling and a thousand and one things to do, it’s important to take a moment to be thankful for the fact that we live in a (mostly) peaceful country where we take our safety and basic human rights for granted, especially as we are faced with a constant barrage of news and deeply upsetting images from Gaza and Ukraine, where these people have no homes or businesses to worry about.
On that note, from all the team at Drinks Industry Ireland we’d like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year.