Ireland has Highest Taxes on Wine in EU

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Ireland has Highest Taxes on Wine in EU

Ireland has Highest Taxes on Wine in EU
October 01
10:20 2014

Ireland’s wine taxes, which are now the highest in Europe, have led to an 8% drop in the volume of wines being sold, according to the Annual Wine Market Review 2013, produced by the Irish Wine Association, which represents wine importers and distributors in Ireland. The group is calling for a reversal of last year’s increases in excise, which have caused significant cash-flow implications for small businesses, putting thousands of jobs at risk across the industry.

The report outlines the impact that the 62% excise increase on wine over the past 2 Budgets has had:

* Wine sales volumes were down 8.2% in 2013, to 8.2 million cases;

* Consumers are spending €4.86 in taxes on a €9 bottle of wine, up from €3.53 in 2011;

* Ireland has the highest taxes on wine in the EU; fifteen countries pay zero taxes on wine;

* Wine sales generated 30.3% of alcohol tax receipts in 2013, giving the category a disproportionate share of the tax burden;

* Sparkling wine excise rates are double the rates for still wine;

* Spanish tourists pay almost twice the price for wine in Irish restaurants than they do at home.

The report also looks at consumption habits amongst Irish wine drinkers. Irish wine consumers prefer white wine to red, with white holding a 51% volume share. This marks a shift from 2003 when red wine was the preferred option, with a 52% volume share. We have also seen that more men over 35 now drink wine (76%) than women over 35 (70%). In terms of our country preferences, Australian and Chilean wines have proven to be the most popular with Irish consumers, holding 20.6% and 20.1% of the market respectively.

Michael Foley, Chairman of the Irish Wine Association and Sales/Marketing Director for Findlater Wine and Spirits, says: “The last number of years have been extremely challenging for Ireland’s wine industry. Penal excise increases of 62% over the last two Budgets have pushed the industry to the brink. As well as being a tax on hard-pressed consumers, these increases have put a huge strain on the thousands of small businesses across Ireland that sell wine.

“Over 1,100 people are employed directly by Irish wine distributors and importers, and thousands more jobs are supported in the 13,000 pubs, restaurants, and independent off-licences that sell wine. The vast majority of these jobs are in small, family-operated businesses across Ireland.”

He adds: “Excise increases have had a negative impact on sales and have created significant cash-flow issues for distributors and importers as many have to pay excise as an up-front cost. The total payment (including VAT) is now €17,958 higher per 1,000 cases than it was in 2012 at a time when the availability of credit is at an all-time low. The message coming from the industry is clear: reverse excise increases and support thousands of small businesses and jobs across the industry.”

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