24 million fewer pints of beer and cider consumed in Ireland in April 2020 compared to April 2019

24 million fewer pints of beer and cider consumed in Ireland in April 2020 compared to April 2019

That’s a lot of pints.


Overall sales of beer and cider in Ireland fell by 36% in April 2020 when compared to April of last year as a result of the closure of pubs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


That's according to Nielsen data, which provides figures on the sale of beer and cider (Long Alcoholic Drinks) and spirits in Ireland. According to the same data, released on Tuesday, it's the equivalent of about 24 million pints.


As expected, the volume of beer and cider sold in the off-trade increased significantly (58%) in April of this year compared to last year, but due to pubs being closed, overall sales fell by 36%. It is estimated that 60% of beer and cider sales are in the on-trade in Ireland.


Alcohol consumption has fallen in general, with sales down by 35.6%. Sales of the volume of spirits decreased by 13% overall, despite a 24% increase in the volume of off-trade sales.


The data does not include wine sales, which, the industry estimates, has remained about the same in Ireland due an increase in off-trade sales. Off-trade sales of wine accounts for approximately 80% of wine sales in Ireland.


The Nielsen data also does not include sales data from Dunnes Store or discounted retailers.


Drinks Ireland, which released the Nielsen data, says Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the drinks industry in Ireland. As well as pubs having to close, jobs and revenue have been severely impacted by the closure of brewery and distillery visitor centres and restrictions in supply to off-trade channels, in Ireland and abroad.

Commenting on the data, Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland, dismissed a perception that people in Ireland are drinking more since the introduction of various restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic in March.

Since 2001, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Revenue, the average per adult alcohol consumption in Ireland has fallen by 23.2%.


“There has been a perception that people are drinking more as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, but these figures clearly show that this is not the case, with overall sales down by just under 36%,” Callan said.


“With pubs, restaurants and hotels closed and Government restrictions in place, there’s been not only a fall in the amount of alcohol consumed, but changes in the way people drink.


“Many people have taken part in a virtual drink with family or friends, but we’re also seeing an array of online wine and drink tastings, and cocktail-making events. People are also enjoying a drink in the garden in the sun, or with dinner at home after work, allowing for a little bit of normality at this time.


“It’s important that people maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle at this time, and this includes not drinking to excess. For anyone looking for more information about alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 crisis or for information about low-risk consumption guidelines, we’d urge them to visit Drink Aware.”