NI drinks industry welcomes excise freeze in UK Budget

Patricia Callan, ABFI director
Patricia Callan, Drinks Ireland director, says the new international standards are a targeted response to the fact that consumers are increasingly buying alcohol online

Move by UK government to freeze excise duty has been welcomed by Drinks Ireland as the measure should provide "some relief" for Northern Ireland's drinks industry



11 March 2020

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A freeze in excise duty in the UK Budget has been welcomed by representative group, Drinks Ireland, on the grounds that it will provide “some relief” for Northern Irish beer, cider, and spirits producers and wine importers.

Drinks Ireland is an all-island body representing drinks producers, distributors and brand-owners, including those in Northern Ireland.

“The UK currently has the fourth highest aggregate rate of excise on alcoholic products relative to EU countries,” said Drinks Ireland director Patricia Callan, “which puts undue pressure on small drinks producers in particular.”

“We also welcome the £10 million announced for R&D spending to help decarbonise distilleries,” Callan added. “We are seeking clarity on the Budget statement which announced £1 million to market Scottish food and drinks, including Scotch whisky, overseas. Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur in Northern Ireland have equally been hit with 25% tariffs from the US as part of the Boeing/Airbus trade dispute, so they should be provided with similar support.”

Northern Ireland’s drinks industry makes a substantial contribution to the economy, as a major exporter, investor and tourism driver. Over six million cases of Irish whiskey, Irish cream liqueur and gin were produced in Northern Ireland in 2019, over 80% of which was exported to markets other than the UK or Ireland.

“More needs to be done by the UK government to support this very important sector in Northern Ireland,” Callan added.




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