Drinks Ireland|Cider welcomes excise exemption for craft cider

Move welcomed across the industry yet Cider Ireland describes year-long wait as an "unjustifiable delay"



12 October 2021 | 0

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An excise relief programme of up to 50% for independent small producers of cider and other fermented beverages announced today has been welcomed by Drinks Ireland|Cider, the representative group for Ireland’s cider producers within Ibec.

However, Cider Ireland, which represents small craft cider producers, said they while they welcomed the announcement, it was “very regrettable” that they must wait another year before benefitting from the change, and are afforded the same treatment as craft beer.

The announcement was made in the Minister for Finance’s Budget speech where he stated that his officials will work with the cider sector to allow for the implementation of this relief in next year’s Finance Bill.

Seamus O’Hara, the chair of Drinks Ireland|Cider and founder and CEO of Carlow Brewing Company, which produces a range of cider brands including Falling Apple and Craigies, said the move will benefit the wider cider sector.

“There are at least a dozen craft cider producers scattered across Ireland that will benefit greatly with this reduction, enabling further investment, job creation and innovation,” O’Hara said. “The move will benefit the wider cider sector by allowing expansion of and greater consumer interest in the category. It will also result in downstream benefits to the wider economy, particularly in retail, hospitality, and tourism.

He added that the decision is “timely in the context of the challenges facing the cider sector. Ireland already has the third highest rate of excise on cider in the EU/UK. The sector has also been hard hit by the pandemic, with cider’s market share of beverages falling from 7.4% in 2019 to 6.9% in 2020.”

“This announcement follows a substantial lobbying campaign by Drinks Ireland|Cider which has called for the excise relief programme, currently enjoyed by craft brewers, to be extended to the craft cider sector,” added Jonathan McDade, head of Cider at Drinks Ireland.

“Since that excise reduction over 15 years ago, the number of indigenous craft breweries in Ireland has increased from eight to 75,” McDade said. “We look forward to engaging with the Department and the Revenue Commissioners on the practicalities of introducing the scheme in the coming months.”

Frustration voiced over delay

Cider Ireland, although welcoming the measure, said a wait of another year to receive the same treatment as craft beer, represented an “unjustifiable delay”.

“While Cider Ireland welcome the government’s commitment to reducing excise duty for small producers of craft cider by 50% next year, it is very regrettable that we must wait another year before being afforded the same treatment as craft beer,” the organisation said.

“The year is a further, unjustifiable delay on the new jobs, tourism, exports and carbon-busting new orchards that will emerge all around rural Ireland once the 50% reduction in duty is implemented. We, and the communities we are part of, deserve a level playing field,” Cider Ireland added.



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