The party is well and truly over, with Irish alcohol consumption now back to pre-Celtic Tiger levels — thanks in part to cross-border shoppers.
The new-found abstinence has cost over 10,000 jobs in the past two years, according to the alcohol industry.
The Irish pub has been the biggest loser, with bar sales falling by over 11% last year alone, says a new report to be published by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) today. People in the Republic are now drinking less than at any time since 1995-1996.
The Drinks Market Performance Report 2009 is today expected to confirm earlier predictions that the industry would see a 10% decline in business during 2009.
The drop in alcohol sales was even worse than that seen during 2008, and further decline is expected over the next 12 months — although not as steep as that already seen. Cross-border shopping had a big impact on the trade, with up to 10% of off-license sales moving north during 2009.
Bar sales — which include food but primarily consist of alcohol — fell by 11.1%.
There were 100,000 people employed in the drinks industry in 2008, spread between factories, pubs, hotels and off-licenses, but these numbers have fallen by over 10,000.