Beer production in Ireland fell by nearly 50% in 2021 as alcohol consumption declines dramatically
Production of beer in Ireland fell by nearly 50% last year as a result of closures resulting from lockdowns.
The statistics were published in Drinks Ireland|Beer's annual Irish Beer Market Report on Tuesday (10 May).
There was a fall of 46% in production between 2020 and 2021, with sales down by 1.3% and per capita consumption down by 2.3%.
Drinks Ireland has said that "overall alcohol consumption continues to decline dramatically in Ireland".
The decline has been attributed to the closure of hospitality venues both in Ireland, and internationally.
Beer producers are now calling on the government to remove alcohol excise when putting together this year's budget.
The industry is recovering, but external pressures such as inflation could have significant impacts on the beer industry.
Ireland's excise on beer is the second highest in the European Union.
“Today’s report illustrates the significant impact the pandemic continued to have on Irish brewers last year, with production particularly hit," said Peter Mosley, Managing Director of the Porterhouse Brewing Company and Chair of Drinks Ireland|Beer.
"There were some signs of early recovery, as consumers returned to the on-trade in the second half of the year.
"Prior to Covid just over 60% of beer sales were in Ireland’s pubs, restaurants, and hotels. In 2020 an estimated 29% of beer sales were from the hospitality sector, but this rose to 46% in 2021.
“Irish brewers are now working to return to growth, driven by strong innovation in the sector from established and emerging players.
"We have seen some interesting trends in recent years like the growth of non-alcoholic beer, which we expect to continue.”
The beer most affected by the pandemic was stout, with sales falling from 30% to 25.3% between 2019 and 2020.
Non-alcoholic beer is also rising in popularity, with 1.5% of all sales in 2021 coming from alcohol-free alternatives.
Five years ago, non-alcoholic beer only amounted to 0.4% of sales.
Director of Drinks Ireland|Beer, Jonathan McDade, said that the reduction of excise on beer in this year's Budget would enable "more investment and innovation within the sector".
“Following two of the most challenging years for the brewing sector and the ongoing issue of spiralling business costs, we are calling for an excise reduction in this year’s Budget," McDade said.
"It would also benefit hard-pressed consumers, facing rising cost of living pressures.”