And Gallaher, the makers of Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Mayfair and Old Holborn tobacco products, revealed yesterday cigarette sales in Ireland have fallen by 7.5% since Health Minister Micheál Martin introduced the smoking ban this year.
Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, said first-half profit fell 27% as net income declined to €293 million from €400m a year earlier, when Heineken had a once-off profit of €71m from the sale of its stake in Argentine brewer Quilmes.
Heineken Ireland appear to have brushed aside the effects of smoking ban-induced drop in beer sales by clever marketing and good relationships with publicans. Heineken said sales volumes increased by 5% in the first six months, while the total beer market was down 5.6% over the same period last year.
“Heineken Ireland’s share of the beer market increased by 0.6 share points for the first six months versus the same period last year to 19%. Heineken Lager the company’s flagship brand has re-enforced its No 1 position and holds close to 30% of the overall lager market,” the company said.
As with Diageo, Heineken said that pub sales with over 80% of the beer market continue to lose share to the off-licence trade and is down a further 2% on last year. The off-trade sector shows growth of 8% against the same period last year.
Heineken Ireland corporate affairs manager Declan Farmer said despite the very troubling decline in beer sales in pubs Heineken’s industry-beating performance is underpinned by its investment in the Heineken European Rugby Cup, Heineken Green Energy and Amstel’s sponsorship of the Champions League.
Mr Farmer said the status of the Irish bar is under threat and its uniqueness in bringing foreign tourists to Ireland could be lost.
“We need to nurture this treasured and under-appreciated element of our national culture. A cut in excise duties combined with a similar response from the industry could help revive the fortunes of the Irish pub.
“People should remember that 54% of Irish bars have an annual turnover of less than €200,000 a year. That’s a small base from which to make a living,” he added.
And yesterday, Diageo the world’s largest liquor maker and brewer of Guinness, placed its European operations under a single manager: Andrew Morgan.