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Ireland’s alcohol sales drop 35.6% in April

Alcohol sales fell by 35.6% in Ireland in April 2020 compared to the same period last year, with spirits dropping by 13% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ireland’s pubs and bars were ordered to close on 15 March to help curb the spread of Covid-19

In April 2020, trade body Drinks Ireland estimated that total alcohol sales have fallen by 30% across the country since on-trade venues were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic on 15 March.

New figures from Nielsen, released by Drinks Ireland, provide sales for spirits, beer, and cider in Ireland in both the on-trade and off-trade in April.

Alcohol sales increased in the off-trade in April, however the closure of the on-trade channel due to the pandemic resulted in an overall fall in the total amount of alcohol consumed in Ireland, the trade group said.

The figures showed there were 4.9 million fewer 35.5ml serves of spirits sold in April 2020 compared to the previous year. In the off-trade, there was a 24% sales increase for spirits.

In comparison, total sales of beer and cider fell by 36% in April due to pubs being shut, Drinks Ireland said.

The Nielsen figures do not include wine as it is estimated that the volume of the category’s sales remains about the same in Ireland overall due to an increase in off-trade sales. This is because usually, 80% of wine is sold in the off-trade.

Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland said: “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%.

“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.”

Drinks Ireland also noted that the closure of distillery and brewery visitor centres, which generally attracts three million people, has “severely impacted jobs and revenue”.

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