Ireland’s coffee market has driven the country’s retail sector over the last 12 months, Allegra World Coffee Portal’s report has found. From a survey of more than 3200 Irish consumers and telephone interviews with major industry players, Allegra found that Ireland is emerging from its historically tea-drinking past to become an increasingly coffee consuming nation. Allegra found that the Irish coffee shop market’s 502 outlets continues to outperform the Irish retail sector with significant annual sales growth of approximately 14 per cent. This accounts for an annual turnover of US$314 million for the host of the 2016 World Barista Championship. The study found that expansion from Insomnia, Costa Coffee and Starbucks were the major drivers of growth in the sector, with Insomnia’s 96 stores making up 31 per cent of the market. Allegra revealed that Insomnia has expansion plans in the works and several new partnerships including Debenhams, Compass and SPAR. Costa Coffee is Ireland’s second largest branded coffee shop chain, with 10 stores in Dublin alone. Allegra said Dublin central’s strict planning laws discourage coffee shows securing new sites in the district, meaning regional expansion is expected in the future. The branded coffee shop segment is forecast to exceed US$399 million across 515 outlets by 2020, with outlets predicted to grow at 9 per cent compound and at 14.5 per cent revenue over the next five years. Allegra predicts the total Irish coffee shop market to exceed 750 outlets with an annual turnover of US$675 million by 2020. The Project Café2015 Ireland report said that more savvy consumers would improve coffee offers across a broad set of channels. The spotlight will be on Ireland’s specialty coffee scene when World Coffee Events (WCE) hosts the 2016 WBC in Dublin in June 2016. WCE is a joint cooperation of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe and the Specialty Coffee Association of America registered in Dublin. The competition will take place in conjunction with the World of Coffee Event.