A recent report carried out by The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) highlighted concerns over the decreasing number of British tourists visiting Ireland. With the uncertainty of Brexit and the potential damage it may cause the drinks industry, DIGI are now seeking a reduction in alcohol excise tax in Budget 2018 as part of its Support Your Local campaign.

The drinks and hospitality industry employs roughly around 92,000 people and post Brexit we could see a loss of almost €70 million in revenue this year. The Irish pub is not only the social hub of our communities, but is the backbone of our livelihood and economy too. In order for the Irish Pub sector to stay afloat post Brexit we must see a considerable reduction in alcohol taxes.

Currently Ireland has the second highest alcohol excise rate on beer in the EU and the third highest excise rate on whiskey, which means when you buy a pint of larger in the pub 30% of what you pay goes on tax.

A survey carried out by DIGI, nearly half (49%) of hospitality business owners noted a decline in visitors from abroad. Including VFI publican Damien Joyce, owner of Lowry’s Bar in Galway.  Damien can see first-hand the negative effect that increasing alcohol taxes and the implications Brexit is having on his business. He Said:

“It’s certainly the quietest summer I’ve seen in terms of British tourists,” “Over a third of a tourist’s budget goes on food and drink alone, so it’s absolutely fundamental to Irish tourism to stay competitive.”

“Britain is by a distance our biggest market,” he says. “It’s coming to a point where enough is enough (with excise tax). We can only go so far.”

The survey showed that 98% of people agreed that the tax on alcohol in this country was too high, and 66% said it had negatively affected their business during the past year.

Sean Redmond, VFI publican and owner of Andy’s bar in Monaghan also voiced his concerns stating:

“We’re only a couple of miles from the border and if the currency changes it can affect your business really quickly,” “The uncertainty of Brexit is already creating challenges for Ireland’s drink and hospitality industry.”

So what can we do?

Support your local are now encouraging the public to help save jobs and our beloved pubs by contacting their local TDs using a pre-filled online form by clicking HERE.

Support Your Local & DIGI have also launched a new video to aid their campaign, which speaks to hospitality business owners. Check out the video below!

Read more about alcohol excise & our pubs from Journal.ie