Craft beer production in Ireland building at steady pace

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The Irish Brewers Association (IBA), the representative voice for the brewing industry in Ireland, has released its annual Beer Market Report for Ireland, which shows that production in the sector is up 6 per cent.This is the first time since 2011 that beer production in Ireland has experienced an increase. Irish beer exports are up 16 per cent and are valued at over €265 million, with 43 per cent of beer produced in Ireland being exported. The craft beer sector revolution is also building at a steady pace with an estimated 2 per cent of total beer market share in 2015, up from 1.2 per cent in 2014.

Johnathan McDade, Head of the Irish Brewers Association said: “Beer production is up, exports are up, direct employment remains steady and the sector continues to contribute enormously to the exchequer, particularly through excise. Even though consumption in Ireland has fallen marginally, (by 2 per cent) beer remains Ireland’s favourite beverage with 47 per cent market share.”

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According to the report, beer remains Ireland’s most popular alcoholic drink with a 47 per cent market share, a trend that has remained firm for the past five years. Looking at consumption across the various types of beer, namely lager, stout and ale, a higher percentage of consumers are now drinking stout (up from 31.1 per cent to 33.4 per cent) and ale (up from 5.9 per cent to 6.2 per cent).

At the launch of the report, the Irish Brewers Association will call on the Government to support the sector by reducing the excise burden which has gone up 42 per cent in the past four years. This increase has resulted in Ireland having the third highest excise on beer in the EU, as well as the most expensive alcohol in Europe.

McDade said: “Irish consumers pay the third highest rates of excise on beer in the European Union, eleven times greater than beer drinkers in Germany. Excise is a tax on jobs, tourism and the hospitality sector and we call on the government to reduce excise on Ireland’s hard pressed consumers.

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“The real success story of the Irish brewing sector is its exports, with a 16 per cent value increase compared to 2014. Ireland already boasts to produce some of the worlds most popular and iconic beer brands and it is encouraging that Irish beer remains so popular in other markets.”

The recovery in Ireland’s tourism and hospitality sectors is also reflected in this report. In 2015, 67.3 per cent of beer was purchased in a licensed premises compared to an off-licence outlet. This is up from 63.3 per cent in 2014 which clearly indicates a recovery in Ireland’s pub trade.