Friday, August 30 10:45:41
The Irish Brewer's Association (IBA) has called on the Government to reverse last year's excise increase on beer and cider which it said is creating significant challenges for the tourism industry and pub sector in Ireland.
It said that 30pc of the final price of a pint of beer or cider is now comprised of tax, following last year's 22pc excise increase.
The Association warned that the current tax levels imposed on the sector are unsustainable and detrimental to Ireland's economic recovery.
Currently, taxes on beer are the fourth highest in the EU and tax on cider is the second highest in the EU.
Irish beer tax is almost ten times the level of Germany, while cider tax is 1.6 times the level of the UK.
The Association said that despite the significant challenges faced by the brewing sector, it continues to contribute significantly to the Irish economy, through the 40,000 direct and indirect jobs that are sustained by the Irish brewing sector and the half a billion euro it contributes to the Irish economy every year in purchases. This includes E200 million in primary purchases from the Irish agricultural sector including over 180,000 tonnes of malting barley and 46,000 tonnes of apples.
David Smith, Chairman of IBA, commented, "Last December's enormous tax hike on the pint was a costly error. It didn't bring in the projected revenue the Government thought it would. Instead it damaged a struggling trade, led to pub closures and job losses. 30pc of the final price of a pint of beer or cider is composed of excise and VAT. This is a situation which works against Ireland's competitiveness as a tourist destination and in particular against the competitiveness of the Irish pub. "The beer industry is particularly important for the tourism sector in Ireland. Two thirds of the beer sold in Ireland is on draught and any further decline in beer sales would have a significant negative impact on the employment-intensive pub sector."
"Public houses are, in essence, small independent businesses, located across the country. Beer and cider remain the most important products in the on-trade offering and the recent excise increases have only served to depress an important sector of the domestic economy. The pub is cited as the number one attraction for tourists in Ireland according to the international travel guide publication, The Lonely Planet Guide. The protection of this sector is vital."