Alcohol consumption is down 7.7% on last year.
As the drinks and hospitality sector grapples with new regulations and reopening headaches, the scale of the impact of Covid-19 on the industry is revealed today in new figures from the Revenue Commissioners.
Revenue’s analysis of alcohol consumption for the second quarter of the year shows an overall decline of 7.7% when compared to the equivalent of April, May and June in 2019.
The most dramatic fall came in the beer category, with consumption down by 17.4%. Spirits are down by almost 10% (9.8%), while cider declined by 9.4%.
Interestingly, wine was the only category to show an increase in consumption, with a 10% rise on the same quarter last year.
‘Over 20,000 jobs are vulnerable’
The findings, part of the Revenue’s quarterly ‘alcohol clearances’ figures, indicate that the decline in consumption due to the closure of pubs, hotels and restaurants has not been fully alleviated by home consumption.
“As it stands, over half of the country’s pubs remain closed,” said Rosemary Garth, Chairperson of the drinks and hospitality representative body, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).
“For those who have reopened, they are doing so at capacity levels which are half of what they had pre-Covid-19. Even if guidelines change, we anticipate the second half of the year will see a reduction in sales by as much as 50% in the sector. We estimate that over 20,000 jobs are vulnerable.
“The July Stimulus was a start, but it is a long road back. We need to think and act fast, not least on measures like taxation which can have an immediate impact. Reducing excessively high excises taxes on alcohol is one such measure and October’s Budget is the time for such a reduction. We need to recover and protect these community businesses who are up against it for the long-term,” Garth concluded.