Irish Craft Beer Economic Impact Report

The Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland, in association with Bord Bia, has launched its second report on the impact of Irish craft beer on  the Irish economy.

This 2015 edition reports strong continuous growth within the Irish craft beer market both domestically and internationally. Economist Bernard Feeney also explores the potential future growth expectations of the market by drawing comparisons with more matured international counterparts.

Speaking at the report launch today Bord Bia’s Karen Tyner welcomed the encouraging results and highlighted the opportunity for growth at home and abroad.

“Since 2011, Irish microbreweries’ output has risen more than threefold and given the influx of new firms in 2014 and the industry’s expansion plans, output is expected to rise substantially again this year” she said.

“The craft beer market accounts for just 1.2% of total Irish beer production and based on current trends and growth forecasts, it is likely to increase to reach 3.3% over the next two years, providing a really positive outlook for the industry.”

Key findings from this research include:

  • There are 63 microbreweries operating in Ireland, of which 48 are production microbreweries and 15 are contracting companies. There has been a 50% increase in the number of production microbreweries from 32 in mid-2014 to 48 in mid-2015.  As many as 22 new production microbreweries commenced production in 2014. By end year 2015, the total number of production microbreweries may have risen to approximately 58.


  • The output of craft beer by production microbreweries amounted to some 86,000 hl in 2014.  This represents a 71% increase on the 2013 figure of 49,000hl. Between 2011 and 2014, the output of production microbreweries rose by more than threefold.  Given the influx of new firms in 2014 and capacity expansion among older firms, output is expected to rise substantially in 2015 to 145,000hl, an increase of over 70%. Microbreweries are forecasting a further 64% increase in output to 241,000hl in 2016.


  • Of the total microbrewery production of 86,000 hl in 2014, an estimated 21,400hl was exported, representing almost 25 % of the total. This is an almost doubling of export volumes since 2013.  Some two-thirds of microbreweries are already exporting, albeit many of them on a small scale as yet. On average, microbreweries are targeting an export share of almost 50% of total production.


  • Given the growth in microbrewery production to 86,000hl in 2014, the share of craft beer in total beer production was 1.2% in 2014. With the current and anticipated trends in craft beer production, the Irish craft beer market share is likely to reach 2.0% and 3.3% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The turnover of craft beer producers in 2014 is estimated at €23m and at a projected €39.6m for 2015. Five microbreweries had a turnover of more than €1m in 2014.

The report will be launched today at the opening of the Irish Craft Beer Festival. For the fifth year running, the largest congregation of Irish craft brewers returns to the RDS in Dublin from the 27th – 29th August. Having attracted over 10,000 visitors last year, the organisers are once again predicting a record turn-out of punters to reflect the record number of breweries and cider makers signed up to date.

This year’s line-up consists of over 50 breweries and cider makers – totalling an astounding number of over 200 Irish produced beverages on offer to attendees. In comparison to last year’s 40 producers, this year has seen an increase of over 25% in the number of breweries attending, a reflection of the massive growth of this local Irish market sector. Also launching at the festival will be the Irish Craft Beer Economic Impact Report by leading Economist Bernard Feeney.

This year’s festival promises to bring visitors an experience that is unrivalled throughout the country. It is the pinnacle of the year within the Irish craft beer and cider industries. For three days, each supplier sets up its own space within the venue and chats with consumers, enjoying discussions about the intricacies of each unique combination of flavours making every individual product stand out from the next.

Breweries and cider makers participating include: Northbound Brewery, Black Donkey Brewing Ltd., Carrig, Killarney Brew, Long Meadow Cider, Wicklow Wolf, Porterhouse, Dingle, Rascals Brewing Co, Dungarvan Brewing Company, Lagunitas, Blacks of Kinsale, The White Hag Brewing Company Limited, Eight Degrees, Mac Ivors Cider Co., Trouble Brewing, Falling Apple, O’Hara’s, Independent Brewing, Kinnegar Brewing, Wicklow Brewery, Galway Hooker Brewery, Craft Works, Cask Mates, Tom Creans, Jack Cody’s Brewery, Rye River Brewing Company, Stationworks, JW Sweetmans, Single Pot Still, O Brother Brewing, Armagh Cider, Stonewell Cider, Metalman Brewing Company, White Gypsy, Boyne Brewhouse, Mountain Man Brewing, Manor Brewing Company, N17 Brewery, Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne/West Kerry Brewery, Radikale, Dan Kelly’s, 9 White Deer, Western Herd Brewing Company, Toby’s Cider Ltd, Scotts Irish Cider and Starr Hill.


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