How Irish craft beer has exploded in recent years


The output from Irish microbreweries has climbed by a massive 550% in the last three years, according to the Irish Brewers’ Association (IBA) annual report.

The craft beer revolution in the country is being partially credited with a 6% increase in overall beer production for 2015, the first time output has risen since 2011.

While microbreweries only accounted for 2% of the Irish market in 201 – compared with the 12% slice independents enjoy in the US – it is expanding rapidly, up from 1.2% in 2014.

Beer production in general rose to 750 million litres in 2015 from 730 million litres a year earlier.

We're also selling more and more overseas.

Some €265 million worth of beer was exported in 2015, up 16% on the €228 million of exports in 2014.

This is the equivalent of 43% of all beer produced in Ireland. Meanwhile beer accounts for 21% of our total beverage exports, which was valued at €1.26 billion last year.

Despite strong production figures, beer consumption actually declined in the country.

Jonathan McDade of the IBA said:

“In 2015 Ireland’s economy continued to perform well with falling unemployment, increased incomes, improving exchequer returns, a tourism boom and a recovering retail sector. Despite these positive conditions beer consumption fell by 2% compared to 2014.

“Last year the IBA reported that, for the first time in a decade, per capita beer consumption rose by 3.5% in 2014 compared to 2013. The fall in consumption in 2015, however, reflects the overarching trend of alcohol consumption falling by 25% since 2001.

“Irish consumers pay the third highest rates of excise on beer in the European Union, eleven times greater than beer drinkers in Germany. Excise is a tax on jobs, tourism and the hospitality sector and we call on the government to reduce excise on Ireland’s hard-pressed consumers.”

Craig Fitzpatrick, 

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