Excise and the Drinks Industry

January 01, 2021

Ireland’s drinks and hospitality businesses have the second highest rate of excise levied on them in the EU/UK. We have the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits. In other high-income European countries renowned for their drinks and hospitality industries, such as Germany, France, and Italy, excise is levied at a far lower rate. Germany, famous for its lagers and wheat beers, charges five cents of excise on every pint; in wine-producing France and Italy, a glass of red or white receives an excise levy of just one cent and zero, respectively. These countries recognise the value of their drinks and hospitality industries to their manufacturing exports and tourism brand.

In Ireland, however, the government is taking back taxes of approximately a third on every drink purchased by a consumer at a pub or restaurant. With the current Covid restrictions in place, when open, restaurants are operating at 60% capacity, pubs at 50%, and hotels at 25%. Therefore, this level of taxation immediately pushes most hardpressed businesses into a loss-making situation. With Covid-19 and the uncertain economic period ahead, it is now more important than ever for our government to protect the 180,000 jobs that the Irish drinks and hospitality industry supports.

Drinks Ireland is a proud member of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), together with the LVA, VFI, RAI, IHF and Noffla and each year we run our “Support Your Local” campaign shining a light on the negative impact on the sector of high excise taxes and calling for a reduction to average EU levels. You can find out more on our dedicated campaign website, www.supportyourlocal.ie.  Below you can access some recent reports from DIGI outlining the contribution to employment and the comparison between excise in Ireland and other EU countries.