Irish drinks producers welcome new standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol

May 25, 2021
  • Covid-19 pandemic sees e-commerce alcohol sales increase
  • New standards enhance safeguards to prevent online alcohol sale and delivery to those underage or intoxicated, and where prohibited by law

Drinks Ireland, the Ibec trade association that represents drinks manufacturers and suppliers, has welcomed the launch of the first-ever global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol.

A number of major Irish drinks producers have signed up to the international initiative, which is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking.

In Ireland, the closure of the hospitality sector meant that alcohol consumption declined last year by 6.6% to its lowest level in thirty years. But e-commerce sales here and internationally increased, with global online sales up by 33% during the pandemic.

In response to this trend, a global partnership of 12 leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms have identified five key safeguards to help ensure that robust standards are in place throughout the entire supply chain and customer journey to combat harmful drinking.

The standards outlined in the document launched today include:

  • Improving safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol
  • Putting in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors, to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication, or where prohibited by law
  • Providing tools, information, and education, or other support to drivers to empower them to deny delivery
  • Enhancing consumer information and control
  • Promoting global standards as a resource to support the development of national level codes and practices for the online sale and delivery of alcohol that build on local and national regulation

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said:
“Irish drinks producers are proud to abide by some of the strictest rules and regulations with regard the sale and marketing of alcohol in the world. These have been effective in tackling alcohol misuse, resulting in the average alcohol consumption in 2020 being 29.8% lower than the peak of 2001. Underage alcohol consumption is also declining. A Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey released last year by the WHO found that Irish 10-17 year olds who reported having ever been drunk declined by 19% between 1998 and 2018, to 18.3%, and we have a very low level of underage drinking compared with other countries.

“These new international standards are an additional layer and a targeted response to the fact that consumers are increasingly buying alcohol online.”

More information and the full details of the standards can be found here.


Media contact – Colin Taylor, Q4PR, 0864671478/

Notes to Editors
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting understanding of responsible drinking. We are supported by the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, who have come together for a common purpose: to be part of the solution in combating harmful drinking. To advance this shared mission, IARD works and partners with public sector, civil society, and private stakeholders.