Bord Bia has published its annual Craft Beer and Independent Microbreweries in Ireland report, outlining the continued growth of Irish craft beer.

The report revealed the number of craft breweries in the country, detailing increases in production output, domestic sales and market share, while also indicating that overall growth of the sector slowed in 2017.

Irish craft beer consumption has increased by 12.7% during 2017, despite a 2.1% decline in overall beer consumption. Irish craft beer now accounts for 2.8% of the market, up from 2.5% a year previous. Production of craft beer increased by 10.7%, accounting for 1.9% of overall beer production in Ireland.

The turnover of craft beer producers in 2017 is estimated at €44.3m, up 10.9% from €39.4m in 2016. There are now 75 independent craft breweries in the country, a fivefold increase from 12 in 2012. In total ten new craft breweries entered the market in the year up to mid-2018. However, this increase was offset by five company closures in the same period, along with two further craft brewery closures in 2016. An estimated 522 people work in craft breweries in Ireland on a full and part-time basis.

Although the total output of craft breweries increased from 142,000hl to 157,000hl in 2017, growth has reduced from 2016 and 2015 when production experienced a 31% and 56% increase respectively. Almost 20% of microbreweries experienced a decline in output in 2017, an increase on last year’s figure of 1 in 6. The volume of production destined for export is estimated at 19.4% or 37,000hl.

Denise Murphy, Beverage Sector Manager at Bord Bia, said: “While growth in the craft beer industry has slowed, the increase in domestic consumption of Irish craft beer is an encouraging sign of consumer demand for premium and artisanal products. The sector is still in the early stages of development and there is future potential for growth based on the experience of craft brewers internationally and unused capacity in many independent breweries. It’s positive to see that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed are either planning to open or have already opened a visitor centre as a way to increase awareness and sales of their products in the future.”

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