A new report from the Irish Brewers Association (IBA) has showed that sales of craft beer have increased by 57% between 2014 and 2018, jumping from 54,000HL to 119,000HL during the time period.

The Irish Beer Market Report also showed that beer remains Ireland’s favourite alcoholic drink, with a 45% market share.

The report found that direct employment in the industry has risen by 3.7%, from 1,064 people in 2017 to 1,103 in 2018. The beer sector paid €430m in excise duty in 2018, with 29% of the price of every pint sold going to the Irish Government.

Lager remains Ireland’s favourite type of beer, accounting for a 63.8% market share, up from 60.8% in 2017. Ireland’s second favourite beer is stout, with a 29.3% share, followed by ale in third place at 6.3%.

Non-alcoholic beer has been making a splash in the market over the past year, as health-conscious consumers, or those simply choosing not to drink, try out the increasing number of options available on the market. Non-alcoholic beer held a 0.6% share in the market in 2018, up from 0.4% in 2017.

Most beer is consumed in the pub (63.5% market share), demonstrating the importance of the beer sector to the on-trade and vice versa. However, the off-trade market share of beer sales also increased between 2017 and 2018, from 35.2% to 36.5%.

Total production in the beer sector was up by 3.8% from 8,019,000HL in 2017 to 8,322HL in 2018. As alcohol consumption continues to decrease overall in Ireland, falling by 23.2% since 2001, according to Revenue Commissioner and CSO data, beer consumption increased marginally in 2018.

Commenting on the report, Jonathan McDade, Head of the IBA, said: “Ireland’s beer sector continues to perform strongly, as a result of a constant focus on innovation and creativity by brewers both large and small. This is illustrated by growth in the craft beer sector since 2014 and the plethora of new products on the market in recent years. Also, there has been a marked increase in non-alcoholic beer to the market, as brewers respond to the growing trend towards health and wellbeing.

“Looking forward we anticipate that the sector will continue to diversify, offering consumers more choice in the on and off trade.”

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