Irish drinks industry to strengthen standards for the sale and delivery of alcohol online as e-commerce grows due to Covid-19

January 29, 2021

Ireland’s drinks industry has today signed up to a new alliance with online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms to strengthen standards for the online sale of alcohol, to further safeguard Irish consumers.

The move comes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, according to Drinks Ireland, saw e-commerce sales of alcohol increase in Ireland last year, with this trend set to continue in 2021.

While the closure of the hospitality sector resulted in overall alcohol consumption declining in 2020 in Ireland, with Revenue clearance data showing that it fell by 4.5% between January and September 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, Drinks Ireland said it’s important that consumers that are buying alcohol online are protected.

A range of Irish based drinks producers were among the 12 leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers and 12 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms, to form this global alliance to implement industry standards for the sale of alcohol online. It was established through the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), of which Drinks Ireland is a member.

The new alliance aims to prevent the online sale and delivery of alcohol to minors and to reduce harmful drinking among adults.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said:

“The rise of e-commerce offers opportunities for Irish producers to break into new markets and reach new consumer segments and this will only grow in 2021. But Irish producers are committed to doing this in a responsible manner and are delighted to join this global collaboration between drinks companies and e-commerce platforms, which is the first of its kind.

“Irish drinks producers are responsible players, with stringent measures already in place to regulate the sale and marketing of alcohol in Ireland. The new alliance will develop standards, which will further protect consumers.”

The new alliance will develop global standards of responsibility that:

  • Enhance safeguards and security measures so minors are unable to buy alcohol online;
  • Put in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors or to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication;
  • Promote global standards as a resource to support the development of national in-country codes and practices for the online sale and delivery of alcohol, which build on local and national regulation.