Belgian excise hike riles spirits industry

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Authorities in Belgium have raised the rate of excise tax on alcohol in the country, drawing the ire of spirits producers.

Will spirits sales in Belgium migrate across its borders?

Will spirits sales in Belgium migrate across its borders?

Taking effect from yesterday (1 November), the excise rise equates to a EUR2.60 (US$2.86) increase on a bottle of spirits, a EUR0.13 rise for a bottle of wine and a further EUR0.01 for a beer. The move represents a near-41% rise in the excise on spirits.

According to trade association SpiritsEurope, the spirits category is suffering from “discrimination” in Belgium: “A unit of alcohol is the same whether it comes from beer, wine, or spirits,” the organisation said late last week, as it highlighted the differing rates of excise: EUR2,125 per hectolitre of pure alcohol of spirits, EUR550 for wine and EUR462 for beer.

“There can be no reasonable justification for such an imbalanced tax increase,” SpiritsEurope added. “More than 30% of the spirits consumed is produced locally by SMEs, which will suffer.”

The association also warned that spirits sales in the country would fall, “considering that more than 50% of the Belgian population lives within 50km of a border”.

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