Irish Spirits Association adds its voice to calls for excise reversal
The Irish Spirits Association has added itself to the list of drinks organisations calling on the Government to reverse last year’s excise increase on spirits.
9 October 2013
With the third-highest spirits excise in the EU, the Association said that the excise increase from last year’s Budget has not yielded the returns expected. Despite a 20% increase in excise the government has only collected an additional 1% in revenue on spirits in the first six months of this year.
The increase has, however, damaged the ability of the industry to trade efficiently both domestically and internationally.
The Irish spirits industry is of great importance to the Irish economy, exporting 90% of the bottles of spirits produced here to over 120 markets around the world and supporting 14,700 jobs across production and sales, stated the Association.
Ireland exports over 5.5 million 9-litre cases of Irish Whiskey to over 100 markets and has achieved double-digit growth for the last number of years, with the trend set to continue. Irish Whiskey has the potential to double its exports by 2020.
In total, the alcohol sector has invested over €800 million in the Irish economy in the past decade and is currently investing over €450 million in the economy. “High excise rates will only serve to damage exports and investment, which require a strong domestic market,” commented Willie McCarter, Chairman of the Irish Spirits Association and Director of Cooley Distillery.
In a pre-Budget submission to Minister Noonan, Willie McCarter said that the ISA fully supports the DIGI’s submission on Budget 2014.
He commented, “As an industry that’s consistently growing exports and creating Irish jobs, it’s vital that we have a strong, sustainable business in Ireland.
“However, measures such as last year’s increase of excise on spirits damage our ability to trade domestically and could impact on investment, reputation, employment and export potential. Ireland currently has the 3rd highest spirits excise in the EU, which is an unsustainable position and puts jobs at risk throughout the domestic economy.
“Spirits excise in Ireland is 4.4 times the level in Spain, 3.7 times the level in Austria and 2.2 times the level in France. In 2013, the Exchequer received €14.43 or 66% of the price of a €21.96 off-licence bottle of whiskey. Since 2002, sales have fallen by 17.3% while the rate of excise charged on them has risen by 33.4%. Since 2008, sales have fallen 6% and excise charged on spirits has risen by the same amount.
“In the case of the Irish spirits industry, the facts speak for themself. From an economic perspective, it’s one of Ireland’s most successful export stories and is worth €1 billion to the economy every year, exporting to over 120 countries.”
From a tourism perspective, Ireland is home to some of the largest and most recognisable spirits brands and over 600,000 tourists visit our distilleries every year, many of which are in rural locations, creating revenue of over €12 million and employing over 170 people in local communities.
Irish Whiskey companies use over 45,000 tonnes of barley grown in Ireland, supporting 150 farming families.
“Irish whiskey is the fastest-growing spirits category in the world, with exports set to double by 2020,” he continued, “We must protect this industry and these brands in order to lead Ireland into economic recovery, protect jobs and promote the nation abroad.
“For these reasons, the ISA is calling on the Government to reverse last year’s excise increases in the upcoming budget, which have not yielded the returns expected.”
The Irish Spirits Association was established in 1997 to promote the interests of the Irish spirits industry in a national and international context.