No place like home: more than half of us visit Irish pubs when travelling abroad - survey

Posted on 24 May 2017
  • 27% of Irish people work or have worked in Ireland’s hospitality sector
  • Almost one third of Irish people have met their significant other at a pub, hotel or nightclub
  • 63% of Irish people choose a local pub, restaurant or hotel for family celebrations
  • Drinks Industry Group of Ireland concerned that Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax (second highest overall in the EU) is a tax on jobs, on consumers and on tourism and risks jeopardising the future of one of Ireland’s key industries
  • Almost three quarters (73%) of people believe that the average Government taxation of on a pint of beer is ‘too high’

More than half (55%) of Irish people visit Irish pubs when travelling abroad, while nearly two thirds (63%) of us celebrate family occasions like birthday parties, communions and christenings in the local pub, restaurant or hotel, according to new research published today (Wednesday).

27% of Irish people either currently work in a pub, hotel, restaurant or off-licence, or have done in the past – one quarter work or have worked in the industry for up to two years, and over half (52%) full time.

According to the research, 42% of Irish people have attended a community event in their local pub in the past year - 40% attending a fundraiser, 44% attending a local social group meeting and almost one in three (29%) attending a charity event.

The research, conducted by Amárach Research among 1,000 people on behalf of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) was commissioned to track sentiment towards Ireland’s drinks and hospitality sector.

The findings underline the central role that Ireland’s pub and hospitality industry plays in Irish communities, even internationally, as a social hub and an employer. Economically, the broader hospitality sector purchases €1.1bn worth of Irish inputs annually and exports €1.25bn worth of produce, contributing to growth in both urban and rural areas.


  • 47% of people associate their local pub with ‘socialising’,48% with a ‘friendly atmosphere’ and almost one in five (19%) with tradition.
  • Pubs and other hospitality businesses also mark the beginnings of many Irish couples’ romances. Nearly one third (32%) said they met their significant other at a pub, hotel or nightclub.
  • Of the 27% that say they work or have worked in the hospitality industry, 42% took the job for the purpose of full-time employment while 23% percent say it was to help pay for college fees.
  • 70% credit the hospitality industry with improving their teamwork skills.
    • 64% say it has boosted their confidence.
    • 58% say it has improved their social skills.
    • 56% say it has improved their organisational skills.

Ireland’s drinks industry employs 92,000 people; the wider hospitality sector employs 204,000 people, or 10 percent of the Irish workforce, both in cities and the countryside.

However, Government policy, combined with the threat of Brexit, may be jeopardising pubs and the wider drinks industry. Ireland’s overall alcohol excise tax is the second highest in the EU (the highest for wine, the second highest for beer and the third highest for spirits). In real terms, the excise tax on a pint of beer served in Ireland is 1,000% higher than in Germany. Indeed, 73% of people believe that the average Government taxation on a pint of beer is ‘too high’.


“Our research shows that to the majority of Irish people, the local pub is the bedrock of their community, bringing friends and family together. The wider hospitality sector is also a major employer for a sizeable portion of the Irish workforce, and an important training ground for important life and interpersonal skills,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Secretary of DIGI and Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).

“It is an industry which is central to every city, town and village of Ireland and at its heart, this is a rural industry. Considering its social, cultural and economic contribution to Ireland, we need to continue to support the industry to ensure we maintain and create jobs across the country.

“However, we are concerned that the high levels of excise tax on alcohol will continue to put extreme pressure on Irish publicans, hoteliers, restaurants and the wider hospitality industry in the coming years, risking job creation and investment in the domestic economy. This tax is a tax on jobs, on consumers and on tourism,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

DIGI, through the Support Your Local campaign, believe that the Government should reduce excise tax in Budget18 to protect a sector which is central to Ireland.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland
Anglesea House, Anglesea Road,
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Tel. 01 668 0215  
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