New report shows that beer is Ireland’s favourite drink with 45% market share

Thursday, 8 August 2019

• Majority of beer consumption takes place in the pub (63.5%)
• Over 1,000 people employed by beer sector directly
• Sector paid €430 million in excise duty to the Government in 2018
• Lager is Ireland’s favourite beer variant with market share up 3% in 2018

With International Beer Day taking place today (Friday), Ireland’s beer sector will be toasting recent growth, with a new report showing that beer is Ireland’s favourite alcoholic drink, with a 45 per cent market share.

The beer industry continues to make a vital contribution to the economy. The Irish Beer Market Report, from the Irish Brewers Association (IBA), found that direct employment rose by 3.7 per cent, from 1,064 people in 2017 to 1,103 in 2018. The sector paid €430 million in excise duty in 2018, with 29 per cent of the price of every pint going to the Government.

Looking at specific types of beer, the report shows that lager remains Ireland’s favourite, accounting for a 63.8 per cent market share, up from 60.8 per cent in 2017. Stout is Ireland’s second favourite, with a 29.3 per cent share, followed by ale at 6.3 per cent.

Non-alcoholic beer made a splash in the market last year, as health-conscious consumers, or those choosing not to drink, try out the growing number of options on the market. It held a 0.6 per cent share in the beer market in 2018, up from 0.4 per cent in 2017. This follows the trend in international markets, particularly in Europe, where low and non-alcoholic beer is growing in popularity.

Most beer consumed is done so in the on-trade (63.5 per cent market share), demonstrating the importance of the beer sector to the pub and vice versa. However, the off-trade market share of beer sales increased between 2017 and 2018, from 35.2% to 36.5%.

The drinks industry is going through a premiumisation phase, evidenced by continued growth in premium, super-premium and craft categories. This trend is evident in the beer sector, where craft products continues to grow. The most recent data on craft beer sales shows an increase by 6.7 per cent, from 119,000HL in 2016 to 127,000HL in 2017. This marks an increase of 57 per cent from the 2014 sales figure of 54,000HL.

Total production from the beer sector was up by 3.8 per cent from 8,019,000HL in 2017 to 8,322HL in 2018. While alcohol consumption continues to fall overall in Ireland, decreasing by 23.2 per cent since 2001, according to Revenue Commissioner and CSO data, beer consumption rose marginally in 2018. Elsewhere, export value fell marginally from €273 million in 2017 to €268 million in 2018. However Ireland is the seventh largest exporter of beer in the EU.

Jonathan McDade, Head of the IBA said:

“Ireland’s beer sector continues to perform strongly, as a result of a constant focus on innovation and creativity by brewers both large and small. This is illustrated by growth in the craft beer sector since 2014 and the plethora of new products on the market in recent years. Also, there has been a marked increase in non-alcoholic beer to the market, as brewers respond to the growing trend towards health and wellbeing.

“Looking forward we anticipate that the sector will continue to diversify, offering consumers more choice in the on and off trade.”