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30th Jul 2020

Impact of Covid-19 leads to sharp decline in alcohol consumption in Ireland

Conor Heneghan

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The sale of beer alone is down 17% compared to this time last year.

Overall alcohol consumption in Ireland is down 7.7% in the months of April, May and June of this year compared to the same period last year, Revenue figures have revealed.

Consumption of beer, sales figures revealed, is down by 17.4% on last year, while there was also a significant decline in the consumption of spirits (down 9.8%) and cider (9.4%).

Wine was the only category of alcoholic beverage to show an increase in consumption, with a 10% rise on the same quarter last year.

While there has been a rise in off-trade sales in April, May and June of this year, the closure of pubs in Ireland since March has had an obvious impact on the on-trade and overall figures.

The figures come only days after a study revealed that a large proportion of Irish people may be “in denial” about how much alcohol they drink, although that study was based on figures gathered as part of Ireland’s Drug Prevalence Survey in 2014/2015.

Commenting on the figures, Rosemary Garth, Chairperson of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), the drinks and hospitality representative body in Ireland, said that a likely continuation in the reduction in sales figures in the second half of 2020 could impact on as many as 20,000 jobs.

“The alcohol clearance figures released by the Revenue Commissioner confirm the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality sector,” she said.

“For the 210,000 people who depend on pubs, hotels, restaurants and manufacturers for their livelihoods, the implication is stark.

“As it stands, over half of the country’s pubs remain closed. For those who have reopened, they are doing so at capacity levels which are half of what they had pre Covid-19.

“Even if guidelines change, we anticipate the second half of the year will see a reduction in sales by as much as 50% in the sector. We estimate that over 20,000 jobs are vulnerable.”

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