With summer now a distant memory and the odd whisper of Christmas being heard, we are getting ever closer to the deadline for the Deposit Return Scheme, due to come into effect on 1 February 2024. This is an initiative that is about to cause a lot of upheaval for many in the industry but one that is essential in achieving our climate targets.
The idea behind the scheme is to increase consumers’ environmental awareness and encourage us all to return drinks containers by placing a value on these containers and in turn contribute to the reduction of litter. There are a number of fears surrounding this new scheme including the possibility that it could cause a reduction in choice due to suppliers finding the process too onerous and thus reducing the number of SKUs they put on the market. On top of that suppliers will have to contend with carefully managing stock as from June 2024, products without the DRS logo on them will not be allowed to be sold here.
Also there are concerns from businesses close to the border about managing containers bought in northern Ireland, as the two systems are not completely aligned. Re-Turn the company managing the roll out of the scheme are endeavouring to deal with all eventualities and there are exemptions available for certain off-licences and businesses who do not have the facility to manage returns.
Our interview with Seamus Clancy, acting CEO of Re-Turn on page 12 will hopefully answer any questions you may have. Re-Turn is due to embark on a substantial communications strategy with the trade and the public over the next month so hopefully by the time the February deadline for the DRS comes along, we will all be au fait as to how it will affect us.
Elsewhere in this issue, we talk to Mike McMahon of Mother Macs pub in Limerick. It was truly refreshing to talk to someone who is so genuinely happy in their work. Being a publican is a sociable job but there’s no doubt that dealing with the public and working unsociable hours brings its challenges and many can struggle with this. Mike is a person who really invests in his customers and anyone in the area should definitely pop in for a pint and that all important chat.
Our commercial features this month include looking at the shots category, the hot beverage category and the whiskey category both home and abroad. The Irish whiskey scene is riding high and it is wonderful to learn about so many niche brands and new distilleries emerging across the country. Irish whiskey is making a big impact abroad and there is a feeling that we’re only getting started and the opportunities are endless. If you’d like to contact me with any news or views on the industry, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Editor, Drinks Industry Ireland