The Contribution made by Beer to the European Economy, drawn up by Ernst & Young and launched by the Brewers of Europe recently, highlights the economic impact of beer in Ireland. It finds that 40,800 people work in beer production and sale here contributing some €1.3 billion in value-added, contributing €1.2 billion to Government revenue through VAT, excise and income-related contributions.
But the report also finds a fall in consumption of almost 10% between 2008-2012, highlighting the high excise duty rates for beer in Ireland compared to the rest of the EU which has led to higher prices and has driven cash-strapped consumers to drink at home.
Despite this, the greatest portion of beer consumption remains in the hospitality sector at 61.2% and the report emphasises the significance of beer for this sector.
The economic contribution of beer to the hospitality sector and in particular the Irish pub is again recognised in the context of beer-related employment.
In 2012, approximately 1,500 people were directly employed in Irish brewing companies while beer production contributed to the indirect employment of 40,800 people. 32,000 of these jobs were in the hospitality sector alone with beer at the heart of what is offered by Irish pubs to tourists.
The brewing sector also supports a further 4,000 farming jobs throughout the country.
The Ernst & Young report draws attention to the impressive innovations that have occurred in the brewing sector in recent years. It found that the 24 brewing companies in Ireland produced over 800 million litres of beer in 2012 with over 76.8 million litres of this exported.
“Today’s report clearly demonstrates the significant contribution to the Irish economy made by the brewing sector,” commented David Smith, Chairman of the Irish Brewers Association and Country Director of Diageo, “What’s truly fascinating is the tremendous impact that beer production has both directly and indirectly in terms of employment levels in the country.
“There’s also a very significant value-added effect that beer production delivers. In 2012, the total value-add delivered by the production and sale of beer was estimated at over €1.3 billion, a significant contribution to the Irish economy in anyone’s language.
“Additionally, this report makes it clear that the brewing sector contributes hugely towards Governments revenue. In 2012, the revenues from excise duties, VAT and income-related contributions related to Irish beer production and sales were estimated at over €1.2 billion , with over 76.8 million litres of beer exported all over the world. The brewing sector is hugely important to the Irish economy and should be supported appropriately.
“The beer industry and consumers have been subject to a 43% increase in beer excise duty in the last two budgets. This makes the tax they pay amongst the highest in Europe which is killing jobs and could stunt potential expansion going forward. I’d urge the Government to reverse this excise in order to foster growth and bring new jobs into the sector which will further the sector’s contribution to our recovering economy.”