Ireland’s On Premise set to bounce back when restrictions relax

CGA’s research suggests suppliers and operators in Ireland’s On Premise can return strongly when the country’s latest tough constraints ease—but only if they can meet consumers’ new needs and lingering safety concerns.

CGA’s On Premise Measurement service has recorded solid returns to Ireland’s pubs, bars and restaurants after previous lockdowns. After the last full closure in the first half of 2021, four in five (80%) consumers returned within the first few weeks of reopening, and drinks sales soon reached three quarters of pre-pandemic levels.

 

Some of the momentum of the recovery was lost after the introduction of an 8pm curfew and reduced capacity in the On Premise just before Christmas. However, with restrictions expected to ease in February, there will be opportunities to revive sales.

 

On Premise Measurement data showed that after previous lockdowns consumers headed back out with a treat mentality. With many eager to make up for lost occasions, the value of sales spiked, indicating a greater interest in premium drinks.

 

There were other important shifts in drinks choices, including a move towards drinks that consumers couldn’t easily recreate at home—leading to boosts for draught beer and a surge in cocktail sales. The spirits category gained nearly 2% of market share of drinks sales after the first lockdown, while the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category took a 1% share after the second one. This points to the importance of range as suppliers and operators adjust to trends, and the value of targeting young adults in particular.

 

Consumers returned to the On Premise after Ireland’s second full lockdown faster than they did after the first, and the vaccine rollout and falling infection rates should leave them even more confident this time round. But CGA’s OPUS (On Premise User Survey) shows it will still be important for venues to show they take drinkers’ safety seriously. Half (52%) of consumers took hygiene standards into account when choosing where to eat and drink after the second lockdown, making it a much more important factor than familiarity (27%) or the range and quality of drinks on offer (both 17%).

“All our research points to a decent revival for Ireland’s On Premise when consumers can drink out later and socialising gets easier,” says Sian Brennan, CGA’s client director, Ireland. “However, suppliers and operators will need to be ready to adjust to more changes in category, brand and serve choices—and with some consumers still anxious about safety, they can’t afford to relax on hygiene protocols either. Establishing the right range will be more important than ever, and suppliers will have to work hard for share in a competitive market.”

 

CGA’s On Premise Measurement service and OPUS solution provide a unique combination of insights into sales trends and consumers’ preferences in Ireland’s On Premise. They can help suppliers and operators understand the important changes in people’s engagement and category choices in pubs and, bars and restaurants, and pinpoint opportunities for new and established brands. To learn more, email Sian Brennan at sian.brennan@cgastrategy.com.

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