Half of pubs suffer sales loss
Half of pubs in Northern Ireland have lost sales over the last two years, a survey has revealed.
Rural publicans are most pessimistic about future prospects, the study for brewer Molson Coors showed.
Bars are closing at a rate of one to two each week but most owners are determined to survive the recession.
Niall Phelan, country manager at Molson Coors Ireland, said: "Everyone knows the pub industry has been in steep decline for some time now. However at Molson Coors Ireland we believe strongly in the future viability of the sector... that belief is well founded, based on the deep-rooted local pub culture and the innovation and entrepreneurship shown through this survey of publicans across Ireland."
He said they had created 46 jobs and invested £16.8 million in Ireland over the last two years.
Survey findings included that 54% of those asked described the industry outlook over the next five years as poor or very poor.
The mood is worst amongst rural publicans, with 82% considering prospects as poor or very poor.
Most are more optimistic about their own pubs with 46% seeing it as good or excellent.
The survey included a nationally representative sample of 200 pubs in the Republic of Ireland and 100 in Northern Ireland. There were 500 18 to 54-year-old consumers in the Republic and 200 in Northern Ireland who took part in the study.