With the market for alcohol remaining flat at around 588.6 million litres in 2017, the Beer market shrunk slightly to 427.6 million litres according to market research provider Euromonitor.
The June 2018 report points out that value is moving ahead of volume with strong demand for Premium and Super Premium product and an anticipation of price increases with the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing.
But the report also suggests keeping in mind that any volume growth in alcohol sales should be set in the context of Irish consumers emerging from a recessionary period in the last few years.
The Cider & Perry market grew 1.5% to 67,786,500 litres from 66,741,900 litres in 2016, according to Euromonitor.
Gin continues to prove popular, remaining fashionable amongst both male and female consumers but the spirits market generally fared well showing a 3.3% rise to 19,763,500 litres in 2017 from 19,140,700 the previous year.
Wine too enjoyed growth in 2017 with the market rising 1.5% to 67.8 million litres from 66.8 million litres.
But supermarkets remained the main distribution channel here for off-trade alcohol purchases.
Contraband and counterfeit products also pose an increasing problem for the Irish authorities, reports Euromonitor, with both the value and the volume of goods seized increasing.
“Most worryingly, increasingly high quality counterfeit labelling is making detection progressively difficult,” states the report which also alludes to cross-border trade in alcohol, stating, “while it still occurred, the extent of cross-border shopping was less prevalent in 2017”.
The majority of alcohol brands in Ireland now offer a health angle on product with a corresponding rise in the number of low calorie, low ABV and ‘free-from’ products.
The report concludes that innovation will continue to drive sales within alcoholic drinks.
“With the introduction of The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the coming years, there is expected to be a greater awareness level by Irish consumers of the calorie content and also demand for lower ABVs,” states the report, “This will particularly be the case if changes to labelling come into effect. There is also expected to be a continued interest in provenance by consumers, particularly as many micro-distillers launch their batches of Irish whiskey into the category. There is also likely to be greater innovation from micro-distillers in gin to continue to benefit from the ongoing demand.”