Shut pubs see alcohol consumption fall by 8% 

Shut pubs see alcohol consumption fall by 8% 

Beer  dropped from 4.9 million litres in the second quarter of 2019 to just over 4 million in the same period this year. File image.

According to the tax body's provisional figures, beer alone dropped from 4.9 million litres in the second quarter of 2019 to just over 4 million in the same period this year. 

Spirits declined from 2.2 million in the second quarter of 2019 to 1.8 million in 2020.

Wine however saw a spike in consumption, with almost 26.3 million litres compared to almost 23.9 last year. 

Cider fell by almost 1.8 million litres to 16.3 million in 2020.

Beer receipts brought in almost €87.8m in excise, compared to €106.2m in the same three-month period in 2019, while wine excise increased to €103.5m in the second quarter compared with €93.4m a year earlier.

Revenue figures spark a mixed reaction 

There was a mixed reaction to the figures.

Alcohol industry group Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) called the drop in sales "stark", while anti-alcohol misuse group Alcohol Action Ireland said it was a "modest reduction" considering the measures that had been put in place during lockdown.

DIGI chairperson Rosemary Garth said: "The alcohol clearance figures released by the Revenue Commissioner, confirm the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality sector. 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."

However, Alcohol Action Ireland's Eunan McKinney said it indicates that Ireland’s alcohol users substituted most of their drinking from regulated licenced premises to largely unregulated consumption in the home.

"While this data on alcohol receipts is provisional, it does however confirm precisely what has been our concern - that people are drinking a great deal more at home now. 

"Already in Ireland, 200,000 children each day have to navigate a domestic environment where parental alcohol misuse is the primary source of a life-long trauma"

"The failure to introduce meaningful measure to curb this excessive consumption, at a time when there should have a significant reduction, will prove consequences as many will find that temporary lifestyles change become permanent habits."

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