Ireland was the fifth biggest exporter of beer in the European Union last year as production of lager, stout and ale across the bloc returned to near pre-Covid levels, according to new figures from Eurostat.
Ireland exported 400 million litres of beer in 2022, accounting for 5 per cent of total EU exports, excluding non-alcoholic products.
The latest data from the EU’s statistics agency shows that some 34.3 billion litres of alcoholic beer and 1.6 billion litres of beer containing less than 0.5 per cent alcohol or had no alcohol content were brewed within the bloc in 2022, an increase of 7 per cent on the previous year. While still short of pre-pandemic levels, it meant that production returned close to 2019′s total of 34.7 billion litres.
Germany remained the biggest single producer of beer, accounting for 7.6 billion litres, more than 22 per cent of the total EU production. It was followed by Spain, with 3.9 billion litres produced (more than 11 per cent of total EU production); Poland with 3.7 billion litres (11 per cent); the Netherlands with 2.6 billion litres (almost 8 per cent); and France and Italy, both with 2 billion litres (6 per cent each).
The Netherlands, home to beer giant Heineken, retained top spot as the EU’s lead exporter, accounting for 2.6 billion litres of beer exports, 27 per cent of the total. It was followed by Belgium, with 1.6 billion litres (17 per cent); Germany, with 1.5 billion litres (16 per cent); the Czech Republic, with 600 million litres (6 per cent); and Ireland (400 million litres; 5 per cent).
Last month Ibec’s Drinks Ireland division published figures pointing to a dramatic 111.2 per cent increase in beer production in the Republic in 2022 as Covid restrictions were unwound and demand from pubs, bars and other venues returned.
The Eurostat figures also show that the UK remained the single largest export market for European beer in 2022, accounting for 21 per cent of the total, with the US second in the rankings at 18 per cent.
Meanwhile, despite the war in Ukraine, Russia remained a top five importer of EU-produced beer in 2022, with 7 per cent of total EU beer exports ending up there.