The ban on pubs opening up on Good Friday may be a thing of the past but shoppers in Ireland spent €34.6m on alcohol in the week leading up to Easter, a 5.3% increase in sales compared to last year, according to Nielsen data.
The rise in alcohol sales was a significant uplift over last year where sales increased by 3.9%, and the second year that the alcohol category benefited from changes to the Intoxicating Liquor Act, a law which has been in place in Ireland for over 90 years and banned the sale of alcohol in pubs, supermarkets and convenience stores on Good Friday.
This year, growth in alcohol sales continued to soar over Easter with particular increases in cider (+33.4%), lager (+19.5%), ale (+16%), spirit mixers (+64.8%) and sparkling wine/champagne (+13.9%).
The rise in alcohol sales can be attributed to the increase in warm weather, with Easter 2019 in Ireland being the hottest weekend of the year so far, with temperatures peaking at 22.9C on Easter Saturday. This also resulted in shoppers spending more on food associated with warm weather, such as take-home ice-cream, where sales increased by 20.7% to €3.7m. This compared to a 12.8% decline in the sales of Easter eggs in the two weeks leading to Easter 2019.
“A year into the lift on alcohol prohibition on Good Friday, coupled with the first taste of warm weather, shoppers in Ireland were looking at every opportunity to enjoy the sun with friends and family, spending more freely on alcohol than in the previous year,” says Karen Mooney, Ireland market leader at Nielsen. “We know that warm weather also had a big impact on alcohol sales, and we can expect these categories to continue to grow should we experience another warm summer akin to 2018. With this in mind, retailers should keep an eye on the weather forecast and ensure that when the sun shines, shelves are well-stocked; particularly with beers, ciders, sparkling wines and pre-mixed drinks.”