The ICA has 15 cider-producing members and its report shows that 64 million litres of cider were consumed in Ireland last year making a €61 million contribution to the Exchequer in excise payments.
Cider is Ireland’s third most-popular alcoholic beverage with a market share of 7.5%, according to Revenue. However, its market share has decreased marginally from 7.7% the previous year.
Since 2001, average per adult consumption of alcohol has fallen by 23.2% in Ireland while average per capita cider consumption has fallen 1%. As a result the drinks industry is going through a premiumisation phase where consumers are seeking quality over quantity, evidenced by continued growth in premium, super-premium and craft categories.
This is also reflected in the Irish cider market.
Irish appetite for homegrown cider continues to be the staple of purchases with roughly 75% of cider consumed here made in the Republic of Ireland. This marked a 2% increase of in the market share for local purchases year-on-year and it’s estimated that producers use on average 50,000 tonnes of apples each year (which benefits Irish apple growers).
Guest speaker at the launch of the report was ‘ciderologist’ Gabe Cook who spoke of the global decline in cider sales while emphasising the growth in smaller cider producers and the changing marketplace for cider as a result of cider ‘innovations’.
Managing Director of Carlow Craft Brewing and ICA Chair Seamus O’Hara explained, “The Irish Cider Association is being re-established to help our 15 member companies, many of whom are recent entrants to the business, to adapt to new realities. Consumers are demanding quality products and thus as an industry we’ve had to change our products to cater for that.
“Ireland’s cider industry makes a valuable contribution to our economy and cultural life” he continued, “making it one of the most exciting industries to be in at the moment. As a result, cider drinkers in Ireland have unprecedented choice of cider products in our restaurants, pubs and retail outlets.”
However, as Britain leaves the European Union on October 31st, the sector faces significant challenges to its growth trajectory.
“Today, about 85% of cider exports go to the UK,” explained The Head of the Irish Cider Association Jonathan McDade, “The likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, with potential tariffs on both inputs and finished product, has increased uncertainty for producers and could impact investment within the sector.
“It’s vital that the Government does all it can to mitigate these external negatives for the industry.
“At the moment, Irish cider consumers pay the third-highest rate of excise on cider in the European Union, taking up nearly 30% of every pint. We believe the Government should reverse its recession-era emergency excise measures with an excise rate reduction in Budget 2020 to support the sector.”