Ireland is not dominated by ‘superpubs' or chains and does not require any more licences to be issued, concluded a survey of the market commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).
Chairman Richard Dunne said turnover figures showed that small local pubs remained at the heart of the Irish scene, disproving the myth that it was ruled by a small number of superpubs or chains.
DIGI found that the average annual turnover per pub was more than €383,000 (£254,000), 56% higher than during its last survey in 1999. More than half of the pubs surveyed turned over less than €200,000 (£133,000) in a year.
The bigger pubs tended to be in Dublin. DIGI found that 5% of these pubs enjoyed yearly sales in excess of €1.25m (£831,000) and that they accounted for 8% of total sales and 17% of employment in the trade.
The 0.7% of Irish pubs that turned over more than €4m (£2.7m) a year accounted for 8% of total sales and almost 5% of total employment.
Dunne took issue with those demanding more licences as he reckoned Ireland was more than adequately served with pubs. The country has 11,557 licensed premises of which more than 70% are pubs.
"There is a licence for every 335 people in Ireland and that's about three times the number of licences per head of population than in the UK," Dunne explained.
The number of people employed in the Irish pub industry has grown by 28% to more than 10,000 in the five years since 1999. The biggest increase has been in full-time staff (up 28% since 1999), which reversed the trend of the five years to 1999 when part-time and casual jobs were in the ascendant.
by Angela Frewin
Buy this week's Caterer magazine for more industry news and analysis