The duty rate on spirits in Ireland has risen by 15%

The duty rate on spirits in Ireland has risen by 15%

Drinks trade organisations in Ireland have raised questions of the Government after a fresh round of alcohol tax rises were unveiled.

In Ireland's annual Budget, announced yesterday (15 October), excise duty on beer and spirits was raised by EUR0.10 (US$0.14) – an 18% and 15% increase respectively - while wine duty rose by EUR0.50, a 15% lift. The changes came into effect from midnight.

The Irish Brewers Association (IBA) said it was “severely disappointed” by the move, which means excise duty on beer and cider has increased by 43% in the last two years. “We estimate that this draconian increase in excise, will put serious pressure on the Irish beer and cider industries and their suppliers,” said IBA chairman David Smith. “In short, it will kill jobs.”

The Irish Wine Association (IWA) said the increase means 60% of the total cost of an EUR8 bottle of wine will go to Ireland's Exchequer. “Today's announcement will put the industry under further pressure,” said Michael Foley, the IWA's chairman.

Meanwhile, the Irish Spirits Association said Ireland now has the third highest spirits excise rate in Europe as a result of the rise. Chairman Willie McCarter said: “Instead of increasing excise to such unsustainable levels, Government should be doing everything in its power to support this important indigenous industry.” 

The increases, among a series of revenue-raising and cost-saving measures by the Irish Government, are designed to create jobs in the country and boost public services, while cutting its annual outlay by EUR2.5bn.