Bill threatens growing craft beer sector

The Irish Brewers Association has warned that certain measures contained within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are not supported by evidence in regard to decreasing misuse and will have unintended negative consequences by stunting growth among craft beer producers.

In welcoming the return of the Irish Craft Beer Festival to the RDS recently, the IBA stated that the Bill’s proposed advertising restrictions will put in place “huge barriers to entry” for new players.

“The Irish craft beer industry has been going from strength-to-strength in recent years and is one of the best indigenous success stories coming out of Ireland’s economic recovery,” said the Head of the Irish Brewers Association Jonathan McDade, “We very much welcome events like the Irish Craft Beer Festival which shine a light on this industry.”

However the beer industry is concerned that the restrictions in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill on advertising and labelling will severely constrain the ability of small craft breweries and distillers entering the market.

“Under the new marketing proposals, new entrants will effectively be prevented from connecting with consumers about their product or brand,” stated Jonathan McDade, “These proposals are ineffective and extremely harmful. We’re calling on the Government to instead put the existing marketing rules, which are some of the strictest in the world and have been in place since 2003, on a statutory footing, with significant penalties for breaches.

“The evidence for the success of these rules to date is in the total consumption decline and the reduction in teen drinking.” According to the WHO, consumption has fallen by 25% since 2005 and Ireland has now dropped from 9th to 18th position out of the list of 28 countries. Mirroring this decline, the latest ESPAD (EU alcohol) report published in 2016 showed not only a significant decline in underage use but that Ireland had gone from a ranking of 8th to 28th out of 33 countries analysed over the course of the study.





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