Non-alcohol beer continues to grow in popularity, research shows

Non-alcoholic beer sales grew by 18% in 2023



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4 July 2024

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Beer continues to be Ireland’s favourite alcohol drink, with a market share of 42.9% in 2023 according to a new report from Drinks Ireland|Beer, the Ibec group that represents the sector.

According to the Irish Beer Market Report 2023, domestic beer production saw a slight increase of 1.6% in 2023, continuing its recovery from a significant 110% surge in 2022 after pandemic restrictions.

Notably, sales of non-alcohol beer grew last year by 18% and production surged by 50% in response to rising consumer demand.

Non-alcohol beer share is now over 2% of market, an almost 100% increase in market share over the last four years.

This is on the back of strong consumer driven demand, linked to the ongoing trend of moderation and consumers seeking balance in their drinking, the data indicates.

Commenting on the report, Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland, stated: “The growth of 0.0% beer in Ireland is a direct result of investment and innovation by the industry, reacting to consumer demand.

“This growth is driven by increased availability and awareness of non-alcohol beers, as well as consumer demand for moderation and balance. This continues to be a positive trend within the industry that needs ongoing support to grow.”

European and global trends

This new to market category is catching up with European averages and global trends, a momentum which should be supported by both industry and government.

Non-alcohol products have proven hugely popular with consumers seeking to moderate their consumption and at an overall EU level, 7% (one in 14 beers) is a non-alcohol alternative.

In Spain alone, non-alcohol beer has reached nearly 14% market share and Irish producers are confident that Ireland is on course to see similar market figures of non-alcoholic products, supporting industry and government aims of increasing moderation.

“We are continuing to see a drop in alcohol consumption in Ireland, aligning with other European countries in this regard,” Healy noted.

“While consumption continues to decrease, beer exports are consistently increasing. Beer reached an impressive €330 million in export value in 2023, an 11% increase from 2022.

“The industry’s growth will rely on the support shown to it by the government through reasonable policies that reflect our changing relationship with alcohol.”

Other key findings in the report:

  • Beer is still Ireland’s favourite alcohol drink with almost 43% of the market here.
  • Lager remains the dominant beer category in Ireland, despite a 2% decline to 57.6% market share.
  • Stout increased its market share by 2.6% to 35.6%, and ale’s share grew marginally to 4.9%.
  • The non-alcoholic beer category continues to experience phenomenal growth, now holding over 2% of the market, nearly doubling its share in the past four years.
  • Per capita beer consumption in 2023 dropped, contributing to an over 11% decline since 2019.
  • Ireland’s per capita alcohol consumption is now lower than in the UK and most European countries, including Spain, France, and Germany.
  • Beer exports grew by 11%, reaching a value of €330 million.
  • Ireland continues to have the third-highest level of excise tax on beer.

Read more: Bord Bia report highlights importance of drinks sector to exports, says Drinks Ireland



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