Ireland. Pub beer sales: an ailing market

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Publicans will be left reeling from the news that the amount of beer sold in Irish pubs dropped dramatically yet again last year.

In recent years the trend to drink at home has hit dizzy heights, and that’s nothing got to do with what’s in the beers.

Supermarkets and off-licenses now account for a third of all alcohol sales in the country as more and more people choose to party at home citing the cost of drink in pubs as the reason for not socialising in pubs more often.

Beer’s share of the alcohol market fell below 50pc last year for the first time ever, while cider was also down from 9pc to 8pc.

Wine sales continue to soar, however, up to 26pc from 23pc. There was also a slight increase in spirits’ market share, 18pc to 19pc.

The Irish Brewers’ Association said that although the beer market looked to be stabilizing in 2010, there was a significant shift in sales from pubs to supermarkets and off-licenses.

Senior executive at the association, 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; 33pc is sold in the off-trade, up from 29pc in 2009.”