Domestic Irish whiskey sales down 19.3%

The overall spirits market here is down 9.6% in the year to June with Irish whiskey sales down 19.3%.

The figures from the Irish Spirits Association, announced today, via Revenue clearance figures indicate that the industry has been hit hard by excise increases of 42% in the last two years which saw total taxes on a standard bottle of spirits increase to over €17.

The ISA has therefore re-iterated its call for Government to support Ireland’s indigenous spirits industry by reversing last year’s excise increases.

Ireland’s distilling industry exports over 16 million 9-litre cases, or 95% of the spirits produced here. It supports over 14,000 jobs throughout the supply chain, buying 300,000 litres of milk per year to go into our Irish cream liqueur products and over 70,000 tonnes of barley sourced locally by Irish whiskey distillers.

There are currently plans for 21 new Irish whiskey distilleries on the island and investment plans of €1bn over the next 10 years.

Commenting on the figures, ISA Chairman and IDL’s Production Director Peter Morehead said, “Revenue clearance figures show that high excise rates have hit our home-grown spirits significantly. Between June 2013 and June 2014, Irish whiskey sales have experienced a massive 19.3% drop.

“Ireland is the second-biggest market for Irish whiskey, with 350,000 cases sold here at a value of €30 million. The industry’s going through a major growth phase with over 20 new projects coming online over the next few years and investing over €1bn in Ireland. These new entrants rely on a strong home market to launch their brands and showcase Ireland to tourists as the home of Irish whiskey. “Unfortunately, high excise rates mean that Ireland is simply too expensive for many of these companies to sell into.

“Our spirits brands are some of the most recognisable in the world and tourists come here expecting to be able to sample our Irish whiskeys, Irish cream liqueurs and Irish poitins.

“Our high excise rates mean that a tourist visiting from New York could buy two bottles of Irish whiskey at home for the price of one in Ireland. This is incredibly damaging to our tourism offering and perceived value-for-money. Irish whiskey tourism is expected to grow from 500,000 to over 850,000 by 2030.

“Our message to Government is simple: reverse excise and create jobs,” he concluded.

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