After prolonged disruption from COVID-19 lockdowns and trading restrictions, CGA by NIQ’s research reveals a revival for Ireland’s late-night bars over the last 12 months.
CGA’s On Premise Measurement Service shows the bar segment increased its share of On Premise sales by 0.9 percentage points in 2022—and by 1.3 percentage points from the pre-COVID-19 levels of 2019. The resurgence of sales was particularly evident over the festive season—the first without restrictions for three years—and CGA’s ‘2022 Christmas Report’ indicates that many consumers were making up for missed celebrations. High-tempo drinking occasions boosted nightclubs and late-night bars, which were the leading channel for sales on New Year’s Eve. The end to closures and curfews has reassured many more people about their safety. CGA’s On Premise User Study shows 84% of consumers in Ireland now feel confident or very confident about visiting bars—a year-on-year jump of 25 percentage points. CGA’s sales data points to a welcome revival of sales in drinks categories closely associated with late-night bars, including spirits. As the most popular drink for high-tempo occasions—attracting nearly a quarter of all sales in bars—vodka is the key here. They are also the most popular channel for cocktails, with 58% of consumers choosing to drink them in bars. In the LAD category, lager over-performs in bars and has gained share since the start of the pandemic—driven by draught serves, which account for 45% of LAD sales in the channel. Sian Brennan, CGA client director for Ireland, said: “2020 and 2021 were tough years for Ireland’s late-night market, but we did start to see its recovery in 2022. It’s clear that many consumers have missed the unique occasions that bars and nightclubs provide, and despite the cost of living crisis they remain eager to prioritise their high-tempo weekend occasions. However, as bills continue to rise the market will become very competitive, and it will be crucial to track people’s spending patterns and be nimble in capitalising on sales opportunities over the Spring and Summer.”