Drinks Ireland Annual Review 2020/2021
Ireland’s COVID-19 lockdowns were by far the longest in Europe for pubs, bars, and restaurants according to 2020/2021 Drinks Ireland Annual Review. The Review shows, however, that the drinks industry showed remarkable resilience, with companies producing hand sanitizer and working to help shuttered bars and restaurants in the early stages of the pandemic and working together to ensure the safe reopening of the hospitality sector when it was permitted.
The 2020/2021 Annual Review shows;
• Periods of global closure of the on-trade and global travel retail over the last two years, as well as restrictions in supply to off-trade channels in some markets, saw overall alcohol consumption decline by 6% worldwide in 2020 and by 6.6% in Ireland.
• The Irish drinks industry immediately joined the national effort to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in many positive ways, including through producing hand sanitizers (or producing alcohol for such products) and making donations to support unemployed bar workers and charities working with more vulnerable groups in our society.
• Irish brewers, distillers and wine importers extended credit lines to support customers in the on-trade, and when product went out of date during the repeated lockdowns, in a massive logistical undertaking, collected beer and cider from 7,000 outlets throughout the country and disposed of it in an environmentally friendly manner at no cost to the pubs.
• Government supports to help the hospitality sector with cashflow, assist exporters re-enter foreign markets and to encourage domestic tourists visit brewery and distillery visitor centres were vital.
The Review also highlights the fact that beer remains Ireland’s favourite alcohol beverage but that the closure of the hospitality sector saw beer sales decline by over 17% in Ireland, with the share of beer sold in hospitality businesses down from 60% in 2019 to less than 30% in 2020. Wine is Ireland’s second favourite alcoholic drink with sales rising due to wine’s association with home consumption coupled with the hospitality sector lockdowns. Sales of spirits, the country’s third favourite category of alcoholic drink, dropped by nearly 5%, while Ireland’s fourth favourite drink, cider, saw sales hit hard by the closure of pubs down by over 11%.