And at 67% the Irish on-trade remains top-of-the-tree in Europe for the percentage of beer consumed via the on-trade channel. We sit ahead of second-placed Spain on 64% and Portugal on 63%.
Ireland produced 7.76 million litres of beer in 2015 through its 64 active breweries, a 6.4% increase in volume compared to the 2014 figure according to the 2016 handbook data and Irish consumers downed 4.4 million litres of this.
However our consumption figure was 1.5% down on 2014’s consumption figure, putting Ireland’s per capita beer consumption at 80 litres, one litre down on the 2014 figure according to the report.
The handbook puts employment in the brewing industry here at a steady 2,000 with some €423 million taken in excise duty.
Ireland also imported some 1.21 million hectolitres of beer last year, down on the 2014 figure of 1.34 million hectolitres, while exports in 2015 totalled 3.34 million litres, well up on the 2014 export figure of 2.81 million hectolitres.
Elsewhere in Europe, both production and consumption of beer continue to grow, with consumption up again a further percentage point, outpaced by production which is up by 1.4%. More than 36 billion litres of beer were consumed across the EU28 in 2015.
Total consumer spend on beer across the EU was over €110 billion in 2014, an indication that a recovery from the 2008 crisis has been taking place.
Brewers of Europe points out that by export value beer is growing at the fastest rate of the top 10 food and drinks products in the EU. Next year, at current rates of growth, beer will be up from tenth place to sixth place.
2015’s European beer export total rose to 82 million hectolitres, an increase of 7% year-on-year. In 2008, exports beyond the EU accounted for 16% of the total but by 2015 the proportion had more than doubled to 35%. According to the European Commission, beer is affirming its place among Europe’s top export products, with double digit growth (18%) in beer exports from 2014 to 2015. The top destinations are the US, China and Canada, but over the past 20 years EU brewers have extended trade to 123 countries around the world and the European Commission predicts that 90% of economic growth in the future will occur outside the EU.
The beer business adds the equivalent of the GDP of Luxembourg – around €51bn – annually to EU output and the sector provides over 120,000 direct jobs. But nearly 95% of beer-generated employment occurs outside the brewing companies themselves: every one of these jobs is the catalyst for further jobs across the entire value chain, creating over 17 jobs in the wider economy, making a total of 2.3 million.
588 new microbreweries established themselves across the EU28 in the year from 2014 to 2015, a rise of 13%.
The BoE also produced another new publication, the 180-country study Beer Connects Europe with the World, highlighting how beer is accompanying Europe’s economic recovery and flowing increasingly towards fast-growing areas of the globe.