GUINNESS SALES have declined sharply in Ireland over the past year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has devastated the pub and hospitality industry.
According to full-year results from parent company Diageo, demand for the iconic Irish stout has dropped dramatically across the Emerald Isle with sales down nearly a quarter over the past year.
Diageo reported a 22% drop in sales of the black stuff across Ireland over the 12-month period ending in June.
It comes as part of a wider tread for dramatic drops in demand across with Diageo recording a 20% decrease in sales across all of its drink brands in Ireland.
By comparison, there was a decline of just 4% over the same period in the UK, with the contrasting data attributed to generally stronger sales and the decision to keep pubs closed for longer in Ireland.
While beer sales were already reported as being “soft” in Ireland prior to the pandemic, the dramatic drop in Guinness sales coincided with the closure of pubs in mid-March.
It sparked some pubs to begin offering Guinness deliver services, with Guinness also took action with a keg return scheme designed to support pub owners already feeling the cost of enforced closure.
Despite reporting a growth in off-licence sales, Diageo’s spirit brands also suffered a 10% drop in sales across Ireland.
The outlook for the future appears bleak too, with many predicting the declining trend to continue after the Irish government moved to delay the reopening of pubs until August 31.
Guinness sales were down across Europe, with a 21% decline reported in the Diageo results.
Worldwide, Diageo’s global sales fell by 12% in volume terms and 9% in value to below £11.8bn (€13bn) while operating profit was almost halved to £2.1bn.
Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes attributed the dramatic slump to the ongoing worldwide disruption of bars, pubs and other social venues amid Covid-19.