In fact Irish beer production was down 2% on the 2012 figure of 8.2 million litres according to the 2014 European Beer Statistics report, just published.
But where Germany consumed 84% of what it produced – or 79.3 million hectolitres, Ireland consumed just 38% or three million hectolitres of what it produced.
Consumption in Ireland has been steadily falling in the years since 2008’s 5.2 million hectolitres to 2013’s 4.3 million hectolitre figure and Ireland remains well down the EU list for per capita beer consumption in the report with a figure of 79 litres (down from 2008’s 99 litre figure). This compares to the Czech Republic’s 144 litre figure or Germany’s 107 litres. Our nearest neighbour, the UK, has a 66 litre figure (down from 84 litres in 2008) according to the report. The average across the EU is 68-71 litres.
Ireland’s on-trade channel, at 64% of total beer sales (69% in 2008), is second only to Portugal’s 66% on-trade share. This compares with a figure of 51% for the UK on-trade and as little as 8% for Lithuania’s on-trade share of its beer market.
Ireland imported 1.26 million hectolitres of beer last year but exported just under 4 million hectolitres (3.988m Hl).
The origin of these imported beers remains unclear as the Revenue Commissioners here do not collate that particular piece of information where other countries are able to state this in the report, but the export figure for 2013 is up by some 13.4% on 2012’s 3.52 million hectoliter figure.
Ireland can also point to a growth in employment in the beer industry with figures for employment rising by a third in 2013 over 2012 to 2,000.
Excise duties levied in relation to beer in Ireland last year totalled €358 million, up 16% on 2012’s excise take – 3.6% of the total for the EU28.