Donegal and Irish drinkers paying far more tax on beer than in 26 of 28 other EU member states

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Taxes on drink in Ireland continued to be among the highest in the EU

Drinkers in Donegal and throughout the Republic are paying more tax on a pint of beer than their counterparts in the 26 of the 28 other EU member states.

A new study shows that Ireland continues to have the second-highest overall excise tax on alcohol in the EU, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits.

According to A Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) report, "Excise Tax Rates in Europe: How Ireland Compares in 2019," Ireland also pays the highest wine tax in Europe while 15 of the 28 EU members do not impose any excise duties on wine.

Despite Ireland’s renown for the production of some of the world’s most popular drinks products, the Irish government levies a tax bill of €12 on a bottle of off-licence-bought Irish whiskey and 54 cents on a pint of Irish stout served at a pub, restaurant or hotel.

The Irish level of excise per pint of larger is €0.55, in comparison to 21 EU countries who have a beer excise per pint of larger of less than €0.20.

For spirits, the excise per half glass ranges from €0.69 in Finland and Sweden to €0.08 in Bulgaria, with 15 countries imposing an excise tax of less than €0.20.

In Ireland, the level is €0.60. In terms of excise tax, the report reveals that Italian tourists pay four times less excise on a bottle of Irish whiskey in an Italian supermarket than they would if purchasing it for the Irish distillery that produced it.

In France and Germany, countries equally renowned for their drinks industries, excise tax rates on wine and beer are far lower. A shopper in France pays just three cents in excise on a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, while a patron at a German beer-hall pays five cents in excise on every pint of lager.

Ahead of Budget 2020, DIGI is calling on the Minister for Finance to reduce Ireland’s excise tax on alcohol by 15% over a two-year period, first by reducing it by 7.5% this year, then by an additional 7.5% in Budget 2021.

 “A high alcohol tax arbitrarily hampers the growth of one of our most promising, fastest growing sectors, much of which is located outside of Dublin. It also seriously endangers some of our most vulnerable businesses,” said Rosemary Garth, Chair of DIGI and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers.

She also pointed out the importance of jobs in the sector, particularly in rural Ireland.

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