Some 15,000 jobs have been lost across the drinks sector in Ireland as a result of the economic downturn, industry representatives said today.
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) said the sector has declined by 8.9% in 2009, with falling consumption and cross-border shopping contributing to the slump.
Per capita consumption has fallen 21% since the peak of the economic boom in 2001, DIGI said, with overall consumption now back to pre-Celtic Tiger levels.
“These factors of declining consumption and cross-border trade, combined with lower tourism and with consumer confidence at an all time low, have resulted in a loss of 15,000 jobs across the sector in the last 18 months,” said DIGI chairman Kieran Tobin.
“Total employment in the industry now stands at 80,000 jobs.”
Mr Tobin was speaking at the publication of the “Drinks Market Performance 2009”, compiled by DCU economist Anthony Foley, in Dublin this morning.
He said that pro-consumer measures such as the recent excise reduction are fundamental to rebuilding confidence and halting the decline across the drinks trade, particularly in the employment-intensive on-trade where declining sales and revenues are forcing many pubs, bars, and restaurants to reduce staff numbers or go out of business entirely.
Mr Tobin said that this, combined with the encouraging export performance of some key Irish drinks brands, provided the best hope for the Irish drinks industry.