Ireland. New report shows marked shift in beer sales from the on to the off trade in 2010

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· Overall beer market stabilises but 4% shift to off-licences
· Irish Brewers Association call for supports for pubs, bars, and restaurants

The share of beer sold in Irish pubs fell significantly in 2010 according to the Irish Brewers Association (IBA). Despite the fact that the Irish beer market showed signs of stabilisation in 2010, following a decade of falling consumption, there was a marked shift in volumes from the on-trade to off-licences and supermarkets.

Commenting on the data, contained in the IBA’s Irish Beer Market 2010 report, Senior Executive Stephen Lynam said “The report contains good news and bad news for Ireland’s brewing sector. Although sales are down, the decrease is relatively minor compared to recent years. The steady decline of the last ten years, which accelerated in 2008 and 2009 has slowed.

“Net exports are up, and production in Ireland’s breweries has increased as well.

“Unfortunately, the report shows the continuing decline of the pub sector. We already know that the pub trade has lost a quarter of its business in the last few years, and this has had a subsequent impact on beer sales. Simultaneously, we have seen an increase in beer sales in off-licences and supermarkets. 33% is sold in the off-trade, up from 29% in 2009.

“The report shows that for the first time beer’s share of the alcohol market has fallen below 50%.

“Other results from the report show that lager continues to dominate the beer market, with 60% of sales, and Ireland’s per capita beer consumption stands at around 90 litres- much less than countries like the Czech Republic and Germany.

“Uniquely among alcohol categories, the Irish brewing industry invests over €400m in the Irish economy to produce, market, export and sell its products. Beer production remains the most important within the drinks industry in terms of indigenous manufacturing, providing jobs in major brewing facilities throughout the country.

“IBA members directly employ over 1,400 people in their operations. Employment in supplying sectors arising from beer production and sales is estimated at 5,000 jobs while employment generated in other sectors linked to the beer industry is estimated at 35,000.

“What is more, the beer industry invests over €100m in Irish agricultural products and supports over 3,000 farming families. Three quarters of the malted barley used to make beer in Ireland is sourced locally.

“The report shows how important it is to encourage people back into the great Irish pub and to protect the domestic market. We hope that the measures announced recently in Jobs Initiative will help that happen.”