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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Drinks Ireland pushes for gradual reduction of excise rate on wine products 

Chilean wine is the most popular in Ireland, but sales of the popular tipple remain down on pre-pandemic levels as the industry called for an excise cut in the upcoming Budget.

Drinks Ireland, a branch of business group IBEC, said that Irish wine drinkers face the highest excise level on wine in the EU as it called for a 15% decrease to the excise rate over the next two budgets from Government.

Its market report for 2022 showed that wine’s market share in Ireland decreased by 8.9% in 2022 and by 17% compared to 2020 during the height of covid lockdowns when the pubs were closed.

Per capita, consumption of wine was down almost 2% last year, pointing towards a “continued downward trajectory of Irish alcohol consumption”, Drinks Ireland claimed. Sales of wine remain 3% down on pre-pandemic levels.

White wine remains the most popular category of wine at 48% market share, closely followed by red at 45%, with rosé on 6%.

Wine from Chile had the highest market share at 24.7%, with Spanish, Australian, and French wine trailing behind. South African wine grew its market share in 2022 by 10%.

While non-alcoholic beer has made inroads into the market in recent years, the IBEC group said that 0.0% wine also saw an increase in market share in 2022.

Sparkling wine also increased its market share slightly, but Drinks Ireland said that the excise duty hit puts €6.37 on a standard bottle.

This compares to €3.19 per standard bottle of wine of 13% alcohol strength. Wine sales contributed €385m in excise to the Exchequer last year, according to the industry body.

Drinks Ireland director Cormac Healy said: “It is therefore disappointing that Irish consumers continue to pay disproportionally high levels of excise duty.

“We are calling for a 15% decrease on alcohol excise duty over the next two budgets, easing the burden on hard pressed consumers and businesses and moving us somewhat closer to EU norms.”

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