Six Irish on-trade trends to track

Covid-19 has triggered some important changes in the way people engage with pubs, bars and restaurants in Ireland according to consumer research from market analyst CGA.


Just under one in four say they're drinking more cocktails than they were a year ago.

Just under one in four say they’re drinking more cocktails than they were a year ago.


Some of the big trends of 2021 that are expected to evolve further in 2022 include:

1 Food-led and low-tempo occasions

As Lockdowns were relaxed in Ireland consumers cautiously returned to the on-trade.

CGA’s research in 2021 showed that while well over half (57%) typically went out for casual meals, just 14% enjoyed high-tempo drinking occasions.

Those numbers will increase as consumer confidence grows in 2022, but they’ve tilted the balance of visits towards food-led venues. When the on-trade unlocked last June hotels and restaurants saw volumes return to 70% of 2019 levels—higher than the 63% and 59% achieved by pubs and bars.


2 Local habits

2021’s Lockdowns saw Dublin and Cork losing market share and early in the year only 37% of consumers felt confident visiting city centres – much lower than the 50% expressing confidence about rural areas.

While people will steadily return to cities this year, local habits formed in the Lockdowns may well endure. More than a fifth (22%) of consumers said they planned to drink local brands when they returned to the on-trade – six percentage points more than in 2019.

One in ten (10%) said it’s now more important to them that their drink is local.


3 Draught serves

When consumers in Ireland have returned to the on-trade, they’ve often sought drinks that were hard to replicate at home like draught beer. The Long Alcoholic Drinks category grew market share at the expense of soft drinks, while stout became the fastest-growing category of all as people turned to familiar and trusted brands.


4 Cocktails

CGA’s research shows the cocktail market to be flourishing around the world and many consumers in Ireland celebrated the reopening of the on-trade with a cocktail.

Just under one in four say they’re drinking more cocktails than they were a year ago.

These drinkers are increasingly knowledgeable and demanding about their mixed drinks, so suppliers and operators will need to stay on top of their preferences and be ready to innovate on ingredients and serves this year.


5 Polarisation

Covid-19 began to polarise the market in 2021 between consumers who suffered financially and those who saved money during Lockdowns.

Compared to a year ago 24% of consumers stated it’s more important that their drink is high quality whilst 30% think good value is more important, meaning suppliers and operators must cater for a wide spectrum of spend.

CGA’s latest consumer research shows that a third (32%) plan to spend more on eating and drinking out to make up for lost time in the on-trade, which highlights opportunities for Premium brands and trade-ups. However 77% remain concerned about Covid-19’s long-term financial implications so delivering a mixture of value brands with Premium options remains key.


6 Health

Covid-19 has made Irish consumers more interested in healthy eating and drinking.

Three quarters (76%) now proactively try to lead a healthy lifestyle and they’ll want their pubs, bars and restaurants to meet their needs in 2022 through things like low-calorie or vegan food and NoLo alcohol drinks.




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