THE AVERAGE IRISH person drank about nine pints of beer less in 2011 than they did the previous year, according to new research from the body representing Irish breweries.
The Irish Brewers’ Association says 2011 showed a marginal decline in Irish domestic beer consumption, with the average person in Ireland drinking 86 litres – the equivalent of 151 pints – of beer last year.
That’s down from the figures for 2010, which showed an average consumption of 91 litres, or 160 pints. 2010 had seen consumption rise marginally from 2009, when it had stood at 90 litres (158.5 pints).
By comparison, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic all consume an average of over 100 litres per person in 2011.
When multiplied by the national population of 4,588,282, as recorded in last year’s census, the figures suggest that Ireland consumed almost 395 million litres of beer last year – the equivalent of 694,700,127 pints.
The production of Irish beer increased in 2011 despite the fall-off in domestic drinking, the IBA said, as overseas demand for Irish beers continued to rise.
Production of beer in Ireland was up by 3 per cent last year, with 45 per cent of all beer now produced in Ireland exported for overseas sale.
This helped to offset the continuing decline in the Irish pub trade, which has suffered from an increase in beer sales in off-licences and supermarkets.
IBA senior executive Thomas Burke said the report was “broadly positive news for Ireland’s brewing sector”, given the overall increase in production and exports, while the drop-off in domestic beer consumption was relatively minor.
Junior health minister Roisin Shortall is preparing new measures to try and reduce Ireland’s alcohol consumption, including a legal minimum price for a unit of alcohol and restrictions on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events.