Also for the first time beer’s share of the alcohol market has fallen below 50%. Cider’s percentage of the drinks market also fell last year from 2009, from 9% to 8%. Wine however increased its share from 23% to 26% as did spirits from 18% to 19%.
A report from the Irish Brewers Association found that the share of beer sold in Irish pubs fell significantly last year. Although there were signs of stabilisation this was due to a shift from pubs and more sales in supermarkets and off-licences.
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; 33% is sold in the off-trade, up from 29% in 2009.”
The report also showed lager dominates the beer market, with 60% of sales. Ireland’s per capita beer consumption stands at 90 litres, much less than countries like the Czech Republic and Germany, according to the report.
“Uniquely among alcohol categories, the Irish brewing industry invests over €400m in the Irish economy to produce, market, export and sell its products.
“Beer production remains the most important within the drinks industry in terms of indigenous manufacturing, providing jobs in major brewing facilities throughout the country,” said Mr Lynam.
He said that the beer industry invests more then €100m in Irish agricultural products and supports over 3,000 farming families.