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How Much Alcohol Do The Irish Drink?

Average alcohol consumption by 3.6 million Irish adults in 2013 amounted to 10.73 litres of pure alcohol per person. That's equivalent to an average of 128 bottles of wine per person per annum.

Average per adult alcohol consumption 2012 and 2013



% change 2012/2013

Million litres of pure alcohol (MPLA), Total consumption




Population aged 15 and over, millions




Litres of pure alcohol per adult (LPA)




Beer (MLPA)




Cider (MPLA)




Spirits (MPLA)




Wine (MPLA)




<Sources.  CSO Population and Migration Estimates Sept 2013, Revenue Commissioners' Clearances data March 2014.>

A new study by economist Anthony Foley of Dublin City University on behalf of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland shows that average consumption fell by 7.6% between 2012 and 2013.

The study further shows that average per adult consumption is now over 25% lower than 2001 levels and is back at pre-1990 levels which highlights the fact that the most recent fall is indicative of a longer running trend in consumption levels.

Foley commented: "Last year there was a decline in all four beverage groups with the decline in spirits greatest at 11.9%, followed by wine, which declined by 8.9%, beer which declined by 6.2% and cider which declined by 2.5%.

“A notable feature of the 2013 situation is that average per adult consumption is now substantially below 11 litres per adult. By comparison, it was just below 11 litres per adult in 1990 and peaked at 14.44 litres per adult in 2001. Since 2001 the average per adult alcohol consumption has declined by 25.7% and consumption has now returned to pre-1990 levels.”

Peter O'Brien, chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland commented: “Contrary to popular belief, today's report clearly shows that alcohol consumption has fallen substantially since 2001 and rather significantly between 2012 and 2013. While today's figures are indicative of a fall in alcohol consumption in Ireland there is still a problem of alcohol misuse by the minority and we can all agree that there is a notable culture of tolerance for alcohol abuse which must be addressed.

“We would urge the Government to reverse recent excise increases that penalise the moderate consumer and threaten the future of our jobs, investment, the on-trade sector and our farm purchases." (31/03/14)



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