Irish craft beer market to rise €20m

The value of Ireland’s craft beer scene is set to rise by nearly €20m by the end of 2016, according to a new report by the Irish food and drink board.

Irish food: Irish craft beer sees growth (picture: Bord Bia)

Irish food: Irish craft beer sees strong growth (picture credit: Bord Bia)

Bord Bia’s survey on craft beer and Microbreweries in Ireland estimated the turnover of the country’s craft beer market was set to hit €59 million for 2016, up from €40 million in 2015, on the back of the “huge potential” of the sector both domestically and at export.

Volumes of beer from Irish microbreweries had increased by 415% to 134,000hl between 2011 and 2015, and this was likely to hit 197,000hl by the end of 2016, with around 18% of volume being exported.

Domestic sales accounted for 2.5% of Irish beer consumption in 2015, which was likely to rise to 3.4% this year, it said.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said the Irish government’s strategy to grow its food and drink industry by 2025 had identified the “huge” growth opportunities for craft beer, particularly in the US market, and it hoped the number of micro-breweries would increase to 100 within nine years. Currently, there are 62 microbreweries in Ireland, 16 of which are contract brewing companies.

“Already there is a micro-brewery in nearly every county, creating jobs at a very local level in towns and rural areas and niche opportunities for growers,” he said. “I am pleased to see a number of microbreweries exploring export opportunities in close co-operation with Bord Bia.”

Bord Bia’s beverages manager Denise Murphy, welcomed the “encouraging” results and its implications for growth potential, noting that around two-thirds of microbreweries were already now exporting, on a small scale.

“The category is rapidly developing its export capability and this will be reflected in export volumes reported going forward,” she said. “On average, microbreweries are now targeting an export share of almost 50% of total production.”

The report was published ahead of the annual three-day Irish Craft Beer Festival, which opens in Dublin on Thursday 8 September.

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