€1.4bn drinks export industry at risk from excise attrition

Irish drinks exports are now worth €1.4 billion, with the drinks manufacturing sector exporting 45% of its total turnover.


In 2012, total investment by the sector was worth €118.4 million according to the 2012 Census of Industrial Production, the most comprehensive official data source on the sector published by the CSO.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has just released the research and Tom Burke, Senior Executive at the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, which represents alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland, added, “From the micro-breweries setting up across the country to the larger producers creating world-renowned Irish brands, the drinks manufacturing sector makes a significant contribution to the Irish economy:

  • The sector employs close to 3,500 people across the country directly, supporting thousands of job indirectly from grain to glass
  • It has a wage and salary payout of €209.6million while the average wages and salaries amongst drinks manufacturers are the highest of the manufacturing sectors
  • The sector exports 45% of its total turnover, with exports worth €1.4 billion
  • The manufacturing drinks sector had a total turnover value of €3.1 billion, with a domestic market turnover of €1.7bn
  • It makes a significant contribution to Ireland’s rural economy, with total purchases worth €1.7billion

“This is an exciting sector that’s going through considerable development, with dozens of drinks manufacturers setting up shop across the country including 21 whiskey distilleries in various stages of planning at the moment. This is leading the way for an Irish whiskey renaissance and a potential boost to the €1.4 billion export figure cited in the latest data.”

However, he warned, the ability of the sector to reach its full potential and achieve sustainable growth is being put at risk by the Government who’ve increased excise on alcohol in the last two budgets.

“Irish drinks manufacturers such as the small whiskey producers will be unable to sell their high-quality products in the home market which will have a knock-on effect on Irish farmers and publicans hoping to get a boost from the exciting developments in the sector.“

DCU Economist Tony Foley, author of the DIGI report, explained, “The data released recently by the CSO illustrates just how important the drinks manufacturing sector is to the Irish economy. In total, the sector invested €118.4 million in the Irish economy in 2012. Since then, we have seen large investments taking place across the sector, with Diageo announcing a €169 million investment in a new brewery at St James’s Gate which was opened last week and Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard announcing an investment of €200 million in its Midleton Distillery and maturation facility in Cork last year”.

Tom Burke concluded: “The drinks industry employs 92,000 people, from grain to glass. We would urge the government; reverse excise, create jobs.”


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free