Hard and soft drinks face challenges ahead

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Drinks Industry Group of Ireland reports worst sector performance in 25 years



18 April 2009

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The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has said that 2008 represented “the worst performance in 25 years” across the Irish drinks market, caused mainly be the severe economic downturn. Its annual report said that this was compounded by lost sales through cross-border shopping. DIGI predicts “the 2009 drinks industry performance will be much worse than in 2008.”

The volume of alcohol consumption declined by 5.9% in 2008 compared with an increase of 2.5% in 2007. The only comparable drop in recent times was in 2003 when an increase in spirits excise caused a decline of 4.3%, said the DIGI report.

Per adult and per capita alcohol consumption decreased by 7.3% and 7.7% respectively in 2008, taking average consumption levels back to1997/98 levels, which is approx 13% below the peak of 2001. While the value of the alcohol market declined approx 2.5% to E6.9 billion, off-licence share of alcohol consumption continued to grow.

All four alcohol categories, beer (-5.0%), spirits (-7.7%), cider (-11.0%) and wine (-4.1%) experienced volume declines, and their individual market volume shares in 2008 were: wine at 22.7%, beer at 49.6%, spirits with 19.5%, and cider carrying only 8.2%.
Soft drinks volumes, meanwhile, declined by 5.0% in 2008 and bottled water declined by 5.4%.

At its annual forum, held last month, industry body Beverage Council of Ireland said it intends to respond to current challenges by strengthening its commitment to health and reaffirming this position in the market place.



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