Following a new surge in coronavirus cases in Ireland, restaurants and pubs that don't serve food were forced to shut their doors once again at the end of 2020. However, more than 1,000 unlicensed establishment and private houses carried on selling alcohol.
In early January, Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin felt this was encouraging people to socialise when everyone should stay at home and demanded pubs stop selling takeaway pints. The majority followed suit but some carried on as before.
They have to stop now, because major brewing groups like Diageo (Guinness) and Heineken have stopped selling beer in kegs. As a consequence the country is now running dry on keg beer.
"With the current wave of the virus crippling the country we […] decided in early January to stop everything. You can't even get a keg in a ‘cash and carry’," a Diageo source told the Irish Mirror.
The police that had been seriously concerned at the spate of illegal drinking applauded the breweries' action."We had heard it is almost impossible to get your hands on a keg in the country at the moment," a police source said. "If they are running out of beer that is good news.The problem is in a pandemic [those places] are the perfect place to spread the virus.”
"We aren’t anticipating a relaxation of restrictions next week or I think well into the next month," Prime Minister Micheal Martin said. He even refused to rule out pubs being forced to stay shut in Ireland until May. He explained that he "can't make predictions" that far into the future given the evolving situation.