Irish drinkers pay the second highest tax on a pint of beer in Europe

Ireland has the second highest overall rate of excise tax on drinks when compared to rest of the EU member states and the UK, according to a new report.

new Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) report by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley shows that Ireland has the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits.

The report, which was launched today, compares Ireland’s excise rates against the UK and 27 of their EU counterparts.

In Spain, the excise tax on a bottle of whiskey is €2.69 while in Ireland, where it is produced in an Irish distillery, the excise tax rate is €11.92.

The findings also show that 15 EU countries do not impose any excise tax on wine.

The excise per half glass of spirits 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. A tax of €0.54 cents is applied on a pint of Irish stout served at a pub, restaurant or hotel.

The Irish level of excise per pint of beer is €0.55, in comparison to 21 EU countries who have a beer excise per pint of less than €0.20. In Germany, it is just €0.05 cents.

In France, a country equally renowned for their drinks industries, excise tax rates on wine are far lower. The tax on a glass of wine in Ireland is €0.80 cent while in France, it is €0.01 cent.

The DIGI has called on the Government to reduce the excise tax rate in Budget 2023 by 7.5pc.

It said this should be the “start of a programme of annual excise reductions to gradually bring Irish drinks excise tax in line with the much lower EU levels across Budget 2023 and 2024”.

The chair of DIGI and communications and corporate affairs director at Irish Distillers said Ireland’s high level of excise duty is a “concern” for consumers and hospitality businesses as they face a “deepening cost-of-living crisis”.

Kathryn D’Arcy said: “As the costs of production for drinks producers are rising and consumers’ disposable income is also diminishing, we will see a downward shift in demand among consumers which will pose another challenge to the longer-term sustainability of the hospitality sector.”

“Such high tax rates decrease the competitiveness of the Irish market when seeking to entice tourists to Ireland and inflict an undue cost on hospitality businesses and consumers.

“We are calling on the Government to reduce the excise rate by 15pc across a two-year period, 7.5pc in 2023 and 7.5pc in 2024 to help support the hospitality sector reduce its cost-burden and to ease the cost of living for consumers.

“As energy costs and other input costs rise, we need to offset these costs through a reduction of taxes and tariffs such as excise duty which could be implemented overnight.”

Professor Foley added: “The data once again clearly demonstrates the very high levels of alcohol excise in Ireland compared to our EU colleagues which, of course, places a relatively large burden on the Irish drinks industry and consumers compared to other EU members.”

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