Drinks industry wants a 15% cut in excise duty in the budget

Drinks industry wants a 15% cut in excise duty in the budget

The drinks industry say it is cheaper for an Italian tourist to buy a bottle of Irish whiskey from an Italian supermarket than from a distillery in Ireland. Pic; Larry Cummins,

25 EU member states pay less excise tax on Irish whiskey than Ireland, according to a new report.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland's report, 'Excise Tax Rates in Europe: How Ireland Compares in 2019', reveals that Ireland has the second-highest overall excise tax on alcohol in the EU.

Ireland has the highest excise tax on wine, the second-highest on beer, and the third-highest on spirits.

In terms of excise tax, it is cheaper for an Italian tourist to buy a bottle of Irish whiskey from an Italian supermarket than from a distillery in Ireland.

Currently, there is €12 tax on a bottle of Irish whiskey bought in an Irish off-license. 

Ireland has the highest excise tax on wine in the EU, while 15 other member states, including Germany, Spain and Italy, charge no excise tax on wine. 

Irish stout drinkers pay 54 cents in tax on a pint of Irish stout served at a pub, restaurant or hotel.

In comparison, Germans pay five cents in excise on every pint of lager.

Ireland’s excise tax rate on cider is more than double the UK’s.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), who commissioned the report, is calling for a 15% reduction in alcohol excise tax over a two-year period.

They also claim cross border shopping for cheaper alcohol is "a very real threat to Irish businesses" and predict a no-deal Brexit will have a negative impact on the hospitality and drinks sector. 

"A high alcohol tax arbitrarily hampers the growth of one of our most promising, fastest-growing sectors, much of which is located outside of Dublin. It also seriously endangers some of our most vulnerable businesses," said Rosemary Garth, Chair of DIGI and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers.

"The drinks and broader hospitality sector employs nearly 8% of the Irish workforce. Many of these jobs are located outside Dublin."

"The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland is calling on the Minister for Finance to reduce Ireland’s excise tax on alcohol," she said.

The report was authored by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley.

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