A report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland highlights how bars, pubs, hotels, and restaurants are continuing to suffer a sharp decline in business largely at the expense of sales in the off-licence trade, which grew 5% last year.

Pub sales are continuing to fall as more people switch to buying cheaper alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences and drinking at home.

The swing by consumers toward home consumption has resulted in off-licence sales accounting for almost 60% of the market.

This growing trend saw pub sales drop by 7.2% during 2011. The overall volume of drink sold in pubs and other licensed premises also fell by 5.5%.

The report claims early sales figures for the first quarter of 2012 are disappointing and down almost 10% on 2010 figures.

Despite the decline of the traditional Irish pub, the overall alcohol market in Ireland increased by almost 0.2% in 2011. However, average consumption figures decreased to 11.7 litres of alcohol per person — a level last recorded in the mid-1990s — due to higher population numbers.

The DIGI review conducted by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley claims the drop in bar sales has resulted in 5,000 jobs in the sector being lost over the past two years.  It also warns that the prospects for the drinks industry remain weak due to the low levels of economic growth and a fall in consumer expenditure. 27/4/2012Kieran Tobin

Kieran Tobin, Chairman DIGI

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