Drinks exports generate EUR1bn annually for Ireland

Drinks exports generate EUR1bn annually for Ireland

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has praised the country's Government for freezing alcohol duty tax in an otherwise hard-hitting annual Budget. 

Ireland's Government has said that it will not raise duty tax on alcoholic drinks as part of its 2012 Budget. The move came despite finance minister Michael Noonan unveiling a collective EUR1.6bn (US$2.5bn) in tax rises across the economy, as Ireland strives to cut debt.

Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) chairman Kieran Tobin said today (7 December): "The drinks industry fully understands the difficult economic position that the Government finds itself in, and in this context appreciates the decision not to increase alcohol excise." Ireland's drinks sector generates EUR2bn annually in tax and EUR1bn in export revenues, thanks to the likes of Guinness and Jameson, according to DIGI.  

However, DIGI said that it is concerned about the announced increase valued added tax by two percentage points, to 23%. There will be fears that this may rekindle a trend for shoppers to buy their drinks in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK tax regime.

According to DIGI, Ireland's on-trade continues to suffer sales declines and job losses at an "unprecedented scale". In 2010, around one in ten jobs across Ireland's on-trade was lost, with sector employment falling to 50,000, DIGI figures show.