IRISH WINE MERCHANTS are warning that another tax hike in October’s budget could force them out of existence.
The Irish Wine Association said that an tax increase of €1.50 on the average bottle of wine across the last two budgets “has meant that wine has been the hardest hit alcohol category in the last few years”.
IWA chairman Michael Foley said that over 1,100 people are directly employed in the Irish wine trade by distributors and importers with “thousands more jobs supported in the 13,000 pubs, restaurants, and independent off licences that sell wine”.
“Their livelihoods are now at risk due to the actions of the Government. Such unfair treatment of wine is crippling small businesses across the country.”
According to AC Neilson data to end December 2013, volumes in the industry are down 8.6%.
The IWA said that excise increases have added €18,000 to the cost of importing 1,000 cases of wine, with many small businesses struggling to get access to the credit that could support importation.
Tourism, Foley said, is also hurt as the cost of eating out becomes less competitive with other countries.
“Spanish tourists par almost twice the price for wine in Irish restaurants than they do at home. Failte Ireland research has shown that the price of alcohol is one of the main reasons why tourists wouldn’t return to this country.”