Here are nine of the top trends in Ireland’s on-trade:
1 LADs up, spirits down from pre-Covid
CGA’s On Premise Measurement service shows how the Long Alcoholic Drinks segment bounced back in the first Quarter of 2022, delivering 113% of the sales achieved in the same quarter of 2020. By contrast, spirits achieved only 79% of their Q1 2020 sales.
2 Pent-up demand boosts pubs and bars
Ireland’s consumers have returned eagerly to the venues where trading has been most heavily restricted, such as drink-led pubs and bars. These venues increased their share of spirits by 3.6 percentage points between the first Quarters of 2020 and 2022 and they now attract 78% of all spirits sales in Ireland’s on-trade.
3 Dublin and Cork strong
As restrictions ease, Ireland’s biggest cities have recovered well.
Dublin’s share of spirits sales was 5.6 percentage points higher in the first Quarter of 2022 than in 2020 and Cork’s share was up by 2.2 percentage points. By contrast, the Leinster region was the biggest loser, with share down 4.3 percentage points. This indicates the revival of late-night and higher-tempo occasions in Ireland’s main hubs, believes CGA.
4 Vodka leads spirits…
High-tempo visits have delivered a particularly big boost to the vodka category. It now has 26.6% of all spirits sales in Ireland’s on-trade, up by 1.9 percentage points on 2020. However, the biggest growth has come in the liqueurs and speciality segment which are up by 2.3 percentage points thanks to the popularity of cocktails.
5 … But whiskey struggles
Growth in the previous two categories has been at the expense of Irish whiskey, where market share dipped by three percentage points between the first Quarters of 2020 and 2022. CGA’s ‘Vodka v Whiskey’ report explores this contrast in more detail.
6 Stout flourishes
Consumers have also been returning to serves they couldn’t easily recreate at home during lockdowns such as stout which grew its share of LAD sales by 4.2 percentage points in the first quarter of 2022. This growth has been stolen from categories like lager (down 2.7pp), ale (down 1.1pp) and cider (down 0.4pp).
7 Draught in demand
Drinkers have also been seeking the draught serves they missed during Lockdowns. Draught LADs have increased their market share by 3.3 percentage points over the first quarter and now account for 85% of all category sales—though there are signs that growth may be slowing as consumers get back to pre-Covid habits.
8 Warm weather to drive food-led visits
As we enter the first Summer of unrestricted trading for three years, more pent-up demand will be released. More than four in five (82%) consumers now feel confident about eating and drinking out – nearly twice the 42% level of a year ago. As the weather improves and travel increases we can expect both restaurants and hotels to increase their share of LADs and spirits, especially in tourist areas like Leinster.
9 Packaged, cider and lighter spirits set for Summer surge
CGA’s research also shows how good weather tends to lift sales of drinks well-suited to the outdoors like packaged beers. Cider should also benefit from a hot Summer after a tough start to 2022 as should gin, which has steadily lost share since the start of the pandemic and other spirits that feature prominently in cocktails. To take advantage of these opportunities, suppliers and operators will need to work together to find the ranges and serves that best suit the Summer season.
CGA’s sales, outlet and consumer research can help operators and suppliers achieve insights into these and many more on-trade trends. To learn more about how the data and analysis can optimise Summer strategies, e-mail Sian Brennan.