3 in 4 agree beer tax too high

More than half (55%) of Irish people visit Irish pubs when travelling abroad, while nearly two thirds (63%) of us celebrate family occasions like birthday parties, communions and christenings in the local pub, restaurant or hotel, according to new research published today.

The research, conducted by Amárach among 1,000 people on behalf of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, was commissioned to track sentiment towards Ireland’s drinks and hospitality sector.

It found that 27% of Irish people either currently work in a pub, hotel, restaurant or off-licence, or have done so in the past; one-quarter work or have worked in the industry for up to two years, over half of them (52%) in a full-time capacity.

According to the research, 42% of Irish people have attended a community event in their local pub in the past year – 40% attending a fundraiser, 44% attending a local social group meeting and almost one in three (29%) attending a charity event.

The findings underline the central role that Ireland’s pub and hospitality industry play in Irish communities, even internationally, as a social hub and an employer. Economically, the broader hospitality sector purchases €1.1 billion-worth of Irish inputs annually and exports €1.25 billion-worth of produce, contributing to growth in both urban and rural areas.

Ireland’s drinks industry employs 92,000 people; the wider hospitality sector employs 204,000 people, or 10% of the Irish workforce, both in cities and the countryside.

However, government policy, combined with the threat of Brexit, may be jeopardising pubs and the wider drinks industry. Ireland’s overall alcohol excise tax is the second-highest in the EU (the highest for wine, the second-highest for beer and the third-highest for spirits). In real terms, the excise tax on a pint of beer served in Ireland is 1,000% higher than in Germany. Indeed, 73% of people believe that the average government taxation on a pint of beer is ‘too high’.


Key research findings:

  • 47% of people associate their local pub with ‘socialising’,48% with a ‘friendly atmosphere’ and almost one in five (19%) with tradition
  • pubs and other hospitality businesses also mark the beginnings of many Irish couples’ romances. Nearly one third (32%) said they met their significant other at a pub, hotel or nightclub
  • of the 27% that say they work or have worked in the hospitality industry, 42% took the job for the purpose of full-time employment while 23% say it was to help pay for college fees
  • 70% credit the hospitality industry with improving their teamwork skills


o   64% say it has boosted their confidence

o   58% say it has improved their social skills

o   56% say it has improved their organisational skills


“Our research shows that to the majority of Irish people, the local pub is the bedrock of their community, bringing friends and family together,” commented DIGI Secretary and LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “The wider hospitality sector is also a major employer for a sizeable portion of the Irish workforce and an important training ground for important life and interpersonal skills.

“It’s an industry which is central to every city, town and village of Ireland and at its heart, this is a rural industry. Considering its social, cultural and economic contribution to Ireland, we need to continue to support the industry to ensure we maintain and create jobs across the country.

“However, we’re concerned that the high levels of excise tax on alcohol will continue to put extreme pressure on Irish publicans, hoteliers, restaurants and the wider hospitality industry in the coming years, risking job creation and investment in the domestic economy. This tax is a tax on jobs, on consumers and on tourism,” he concluded.

DIGI, through the Support Your Local campaign, believes that the government should reduce excise tax in Budget18 to protect a sector which is central to Ireland.

This evening DIGI launches the 2017 Support Your Local campaign highlighting the positive contribution the drinks industry makes to the economic, cultural and social fabric of Ireland, nationally and locally and calls for government supports to ensure the continued growth and development of the industry. The launch takes place in O’Donoghue’s, Merrion Row, Dublin 2, with a panel discussion hosted by broadcaster Ivan Yates, with contributions from the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation Chief Executive Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, DIGI Chair and Heineken Ireland Managing Director Maggie Timoney, DCU Economist Tony Foley and Fine Gael Councillor John Clendennen of Giltraps pub, Kinnity.




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