Last year’s beer production figures fell as the pandemic leaves lasting wounds and non-alcoholic drinks rise in popularity, according to a new report.


Industry body Drinks Ireland said latest figures for the industry showed beer production fell by 46% in 2021 in comparison to a 13% decrease in 2020.

A report by the body also showed stout sales were heavily hit by Covid-19 restrictions while more people are drinking non-alcoholic beer, with its market share up from 1.1% in 2020 to 1.5% in 2021.

“Prior to Covid, just over 60% of beer sales were in Ireland’s pubs, restaurants, and hotels. In 2020 an estimated 29% of beer sales were from the hospitality sector, but this rose to 46% in 2021,” said Peter Mosley, chairperson Drinks Ireland.

Mr Mosely stated that beer contributed €351m to the exchequer in excise receipts last year. In the past decade, the exchequer has received €3.9bn in excise receipts from the brewing sector.

“Irish beer drinkers continue to pay the second highest rate of excise on beer in the EU with 55 cents worth going to the exchequer from each pint of lager,” said Mr Mosley.

He suggested that government reduce the rate of excise in this year’s budget.

“Arising from the introduction of a minimum unit price on alcohol products, coupled with cost-of-living increases, an excise reduction would benefit hard pressed consumers,” said Mr Mosely.

Drinks Ireland said overall alcohol consumption in Ireland continues to fall dramatically. Data from Revenue shows that alcohol consumption fell by 4.7% between 2020 and 2021. Consumption also fell by 9.6% between 2019 and 2021.

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However, consumption has continued to decline on a longer-term basis also. It is now at its lowest level in 20 years, down by about 30% since the peak of 2001.

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