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Ireland has increased its consumption of spirits by 5.6% over the past year, according to a new report published by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).

Spirits represented 20.5% of the alcohol sold last year, which points to the success of Irish gin and whiskey products, claims the report. Wine consumption fell by 2% to an overall share of 26.7%. However, wine’s share of the alcohol market has almost doubled since 2001.

But beer remains Ireland’s most popular drink, accounting for 45.2% of last year’s alcohol market. This represents an increase of 2.7% in the volume of beer consumed in 2018. Elsewhere, the market share of cider increased slightly by 0.4% to 7.5%.

The report said the Irish alcohol market was “highly competitive and constantly evolving in line with consumer preferences and tastes”, with consumption at a stable level since 2018.

Commenting on the report, Rosemary Garth, Chairwoman of DIGI and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers, noted that the increasing popularity of spirits suggests drinkers are choosing quality over quantity.

“There were four active distilleries in Ireland in 2013, now there are 24 in operation, with a further 24 in development”, she said. “An increase of 5.6% in the market share of spirits is no surprise and proves the determination of Irish distilleries.”

Is drinking to excess part of Irish culture?

There has been increased focus on alcohol consumption in Ireland. At the end of last year, Drinkaware research found that 74% of people thought that drinking to excess was just a part of Irish culture. Commenting on the research, Drinkaware’s CEO, Sheena Horgan, said: “There exists a national cultural complacency around excessive alcohol consumption that is complicit in normalising harmful drinking”.

New laws to limit alcohol advertisements and stricter drink driving laws in order to make roads safer are among measures being debated. For information on any of AlphaBiolabs’ alcohol-testing solutions, please call 0140 29466 or email us at info@alphabiolabs.ie