These figures are taken from the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland’s quarterly tracking survey of members online.
Over the past 18 months the survey found that some eight in 10 rural publicans have little belief that last October’s Budget was the last of the austerity budgets.
Only 1% believed this to be the case. But although nearly one in two respondents believed that there will be worse to come, 31% also felt that we’re over the worst.
The VFI’s quarterly tracking of publicans has been scripted and hosted by Ignite Research and was conducted in quarterly waves.
In Q1 of 2013 nearly one in two described the business landscape outlook for small and medium businesses for 2013 as ‘somewhat negative’ as a result of the previous budget.
‘Dissatisfied’ with Government
Two in three felt ‘very dissatisfied’ with the level of support from Government, promised as part of its election manifesto to support Irish business.
A similar two-thirds of respondents wanted the Government to provide customers with additional spending power and ban the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and forecourts as part of the next Budget.
Six in 10 wanted to see a Minimum Unit Price introduced for alcohol.
Half of the respondents currently sponsor a local sports team or outdoor event with 28% not doing so but having done so in the past.
46% of those that stopped doing so simply couldn’t afford sponsorship any longer or had got no return from it (34%). Another sponsor was found in 18% of cases.
One in four sponsoring pubs give sums of between €100 and €500 while 34% sponsor sums of between €500 and €1,000. 23% sponsor sums of between €1,000 and €2,500 and 11% between €2,500 and €5,000.
5% sponsor sums of between €5,000 and €10,000 and 1% more than €15,000.
73% of respondents believe that a ban on alcohol sponsorship of outdoor events as mooted by the Government would negatively affect local sports events in their area although 25% believed that it would have a positive impact and that alcohol sponsorship has to end.
The notion that Minimum Pricing for alcohol would be positive but would only form part of the solution was held by seven in 10 respondents while one in five reckoned that it would be the difference between them staying open or closing.
One in 10 believed that it would have minimal impact on the on-trade.
And there’s little confidence out there that the Government will act on its promises to ensure the safe promotion and sale of alcohol with 76% believing it won’t act as against only 8% who’re confident that it will.
The quarterly tracking survey found that last Summer’s fine weather (with some of the hottest days on record) led to business being up compared to Summer 2012 for 54% of respondents. It made no difference to 26% and it was down for 28%.
Half of respondents put the increase in business at between 1% and 10%. One in five put it between 11% and 20% with business being up by over 20% by just 3%.
Business was reported to be down by between 1% and 10% for over one in 10 respondents, down by 11% to 20% for over one in 10 respondents too and down by over 20% in just 3% of cases.
With the warmer Summer nearly half noticed that customers favoured sitting outside in the beer garden while nearly half also noticed that sales of pint bottles and ice increased.
But four in 10 reckoned that business had been quieter as people favoured staying at home. Just under one in five noticed that their food offering had done very well during this time with 15% noticing that people favoured bottles over draught in the period with soft drinks sales increasing for 15%.
Rural pubs reported business up by 60% last Christmas compared with Christmas 2012 with increases of 1% to 10% being reported by 38% of respondents, with rises in business of between 11% and 20% from 17% and with 6% reporting business up by over 20%. 11% reported no change.
Finally, the survey found that today, nearly four in five pubs have a facebook page.