Alcohol prices 76% higher than EU average

By Business & Finance
19 June 2014

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has today called for the reversal of excise duty on alcohol, after new figures from Eurostat revealed that alcohol prices were the highest in Europe and are 78% higher than the EU average.

The Group, made up of restaurants, hotels, pubs, independent off-licences and suppliers, has said that the unfair excise rate is a tax on jobs, on tourism and on consumers.

According to Eurostat: “This large price variation is mainly due to differences in taxation of these products.”

In less than 12 months (between December 2012 and October 2013) the Irish Government increased:

  • excise on beer by 44%
  • excise on spirits by 37%
  • excise on wine by 62%

Peter O’Brien, chair, Drinks Industry Group of Ireland and Diageo’s European Corporate Relations director said today: “Excise is a tax on jobs, it is a tax on tourism and it is a tax on hard-pressed Irish consumers. Tax increases have damaged Ireland’s reputation as a destination for drinks related capital investment, tourists have identified the high price of alcohol as the second biggest disincentive to visit Ireland (after the weather). Today’s EUROSTAT figures provide compelling evidence for an excise reversal.”

DIGI recently launched a major national campaign called ‘Support Your Local …’ to highlight the significant social and economic contribution made by the Irish drinks industry. The campaign is bringing the message about the positive role that the industry plays in Ireland around the country. Recent data compiled by Tony Foley, economist at DCU showed that the drinks industry employs 92,000 people in every corner of Ireland, buying €1.1bn worth of Irish inputs.