There is one pub in Donegal for every day of the year and the highest amount of spending from UK customers, according to a new report on the Irish Pub Sector.
AIB has released its 2018 Pubs Outlook, which reveals that there are 365 pubs in Donegal, which equals to 1 pub for every 417 people.
Donegal has the highest percentage of custom from the UK by a large majority compared to all other counties in the Republic. 16.4% of all turnover in Donegal pubs is from UK visitors, while 80.4% is from the domestic market.
The report utilised data from AIB Merchant Services card usage, Revenue and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland to determine where customers were coming from and how much they are spending. The national average turnover is 5% from the UK, 5% from the USA and 5% from the rest of the world.
David McCarthy, AIB’s Head of Hospitality & Tourism, warned that pubs who do rely on UK custom must be prepared for the impact of Brexit.
Mr McCarthy said: “Some pubs do have a higher level of exposure to UK visitors and they need to be mindful of the implications of further Sterling devaluations and any potential future travel restrictions postBrexit.
“As many of the wholesalers currently import goods cross border, there may be indirect exposure to additional costs coming because of Brexit. This also may erode margins for publicans across the country.”
The Irish licenced trade is a crucial part of Ireland’s hospitality sector, employing 230,000 people and spending over €2.9billion in wages and delivering €6.5billion in tourism revenues in 2017.
The report paints a picture of what it takes for rural pubs to keep their doors open:
“If a pub is not turning over €8,000-€9,000 a week in rural areas, then it’s going to be very difficult for them to survive. The same is true of Dublin and if a pub is not turning over between €12,000-€13,000 a week, it’s in trouble,” Tony Morrisey, the managing director of pub specialist auctioneering firm Morrisseys.
Overall, a growing level of confidence is returning to the pub sector in 2018, Mr Morrisey said. One of the key drivers for growth was food service, as demand for varied food and drink menus grows.
Publicans are becoming more innovative to meet growing demands for craft-beers and premium spirits like whiskey and gin, more sophisticated wine and cocktail offerings and the opening of design-led concept units.