Wine sales in the Republic remained below pre-pandemic levels last year as per capita consumption continued to fall in line with a general trend towards more moderate drinking.
The drink’s share of the total alcoholic beverage market also declined by 8.9 per cent in 2022 from 2021, according to new figures from employer lobby group Ibec’s Drinks Ireland division, and 17 per cent from 2020 at the height of the Covid lockdown period when pubs were closed and in-home wine consumption surged.
In its Wine Market Report 2022, the group said sales of wine – Ireland’s second favourite alcoholic beverage after beer – “showed no real change” compared with 2021 but remained 3 per cent lower than pre-Covid levels. “We are continuing to witness an overall shift in consumption trends, with Ireland moving to a more balanced and moderate approach to drinking,” said Drinks Ireland director Cormac Healy in a statement.
White wine remains the most popular favourite category, accounting for 48 per cent of the total market, followed by red wine with 45 per cent and rosé with a slightly smaller share than 2021 at 6 per cent.
Chilean wine remains the most popular wine with 24.7 per cent of the market share, followed by Spanish, Australian and French wines.
“Today’s report shows a resilient wine category, one with conscious and mindful consumers who relish in the substantial choice of high quality products the category has to offer,” said Mr Healy. “It is, therefore, disappointing that Irish consumers continue to pay disproportionally high levels of excise duty.”
Drinks Ireland has called for a 15 per cent decrease in alcohol duty over the next two budgets.
However, taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are likely to remain untouched when Budget 2024 is unveiled next month. Senior Government figures told The Irish Times in August they did not think it was the time to increase excise on the so-called “old reliables” of alcohol or cigarettes amid concerns about increasing the burden on consumers. However, a cut in alcohol duty is also considered unlikely despite repeated calls from the drinks industry.