Irish whiskey distilleries call for changes to Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme

February 21, 2021

Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry is this week putting a focus on the financing needs of SME’s in the industry.

The association is tomorrow holding a workshop on ‘Alternative Finance’ for the sector as part of their ‘The Knowledge Still’ education and peer support programme. The workshop will include contributions from a range of finance and Irish Whiskey industry experts on alternative finance in the sector.

In addition, the Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Small Business Committee has contributed a detailed submission to the Government recently concluded review of the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS).

While Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey acknowledges the EIIS is beneficial to business the representative body is calling on the Government to make the scheme more appropriate for Irish whiskey distilleries, which are different to other small and medium sized enterprises in other sectors in that the capital investment scale can be much bigger and the investment cycle much longer before profitability is recorded.

In particular, Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey is calling for the opportunity to invest to be extended up to seven years and for businesses to be able raise funds under EIIS when they are in their growth stage i.e. from when the first spirit laid down to mature into whiskey comes to market. These measures would help make the EIIS more accessible to the Irish whiskey industry.

James Doherty Vice-Chair of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, said: “An Irish whiskey distillery is highly capital intensive, it requires time to establish and scale production, a minimum of at least three years to mature their Irish whiskey and while it offers long term rewards there is limited opportunity for a return in the first eight to 10 years. Irish distilleries, unlike other start-ups, need to raise funds over a longer time scale and we hope that by extending the timeframe to invest, we will be able to further expand our growing industry.”