This follows the introduction of the bill in November 2016 by Alan Kelly TD.
The Bill would remove a significant regulatory barrier for the growing market of breweries, microbreweries, cider makers and distilleries all around the country. If passed it will enable these businesses to sell their own produce to tourists and other visitors on-site without the requirement for a full bar licence which is not the case under current licensing laws.
The drinks and hospitality sectors have shown robust growth in recent years, supporting over 200,000 jobs in the drinks and related hospitality sectors with an annual wage bill of €4 billion and purchases over 200,000 tonnes of Irish grain every year. The craft beer industry has shown an 11-fold increase in annual turnover since 2011 and a 29% jump in the number of microbreweries operating across the country from 2015 to 2016. With an estimated annual turnover of €59 million, the sector employs 831 directly and indirectly across the 90 breweries around the state, according to the Irish Brewers Association.
“We’re delighted to see any move that removes barriers to growth and supports an industry that’s growing and sustaining jobs up and down the country,” stated IBA Chairman Seamus O’Hara in welcoming the move, “Ireland’s craft brewers have worked closely with the Labour party and our sectoral allies to promote the potential this bill could have. We now have a level playing field where small breweries setting up can compete and grow. But also for rural Ireland, it offers quality tourist attractions which are unique to their area”.
The Irish Spirits Association too welcomed the move to progress the Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016 in a private member’s motion tonight. These measures will help an already buoyant spirits sector which contributes over €483 million to the Exchequer every year and exports 95% of its produce to over 80 markets around the world, supporting over 14,700 jobs in all regions. According to industry analysis, over 650,000 tourists visit distilleries in Ireland each year.
“Despite the challenging economic and political uncertainty that exists, the drinks industry continues to drive economic growth,” pointed out the Head of the Irish Spirits Association, Miriam Mooney in welcoming the move, “There’s been a huge surge in tourists visiting distilleries in all parts of the country. It’s becoming a real success story and one the Irish Government should continue to support through measures like the ones in this bill.
“The ability to fully capitalise on our member’s potential is being hampered by current licensing regulations. This bill will support the new distilleries and micro-breweries to develop brand recognition with tourists and aid future growth of the sector”.