As a result, the steady declines in beer sales and consumption over the last decade have largely slowed according to the Irish Brewers Association in its latest annual report for 2011. Beer currently accounts for 47 per cent of all alcohol sales with the IBA estimating per capita beer consumption at 86 litres, down from 90 litres in 2010.
At 60.9 per cent of beer, draught dominates the packaging format with canned up 1.4 percentage points to 23. 9 per cent and bottled down 0.1 percentage point to 15.2 per cent. However the on-trade’s share of the beer market slipped once again down to 64.5 per cent in 2011 from 66.6 per cent in 2010.
Lager continues to be the top beer choice at 60.8 per cent followed by stout at 33.5 per cent (down from 34.1 per cent) and ale steady at 5.7 per cent.
The IBA report also shows that the beer industry continues to be a major contributor to the Irish economy providing over €307 million in excise in 2011.
In this, the sector supports over 3,000 farming families and beer production remains the most important sector within the drinks industry in terms of indigenous manufacturing, providing jobs in major brewing facilities throughout the country.
The strong export performance of Irish beer products means that 45 per cent of all beer produced in Ireland is for international markets, up from 42 per cent in 2010. This has offset declines in the domestic pub trade which have been exacerbated by an increase in beer sales in off-licences and supermarkets, with 35.5 per cent of all beer sales being through the off-trade in 2011, up from 33.4 per cent in 2010.
Commenting on the report, Senior Executive of the Irish Brewers Association Thomas Burke, said, “This report contains broadly positive news for Ireland’s brewing sector. Although domestic sales are down marginally, the decrease is relatively minor compared to recent years.
“Other results from the report show that lager continues to dominate the beer market, with 60 per cent of sales and Ireland’s per capita beer consumption stands at around 86 litres. This is lower than other EU countries such as the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria which all consume over 100 litres per capita per annum.
“The report shows how important the beer sector is to the Irish economy and why it is vital that Government continues to provide the industry with the support it requires to maintain its export success,” he continued, “The IBA will continue to work with them on ways to increase our access to international markets and will also work with the wider hospitality industry to stimulate growth and demand throughout the on-trade at home in order to protect jobs and boost revenues.”
Those seeking a hard copy of the report should contact Thomas Burke on firstname.lastname@example.org.