(08 Oct 2014)

​Tax accounts for ​almost €5 of every €9 bottle of wine bought by an Irish consumer

Wednesday 08th October: The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has announced the 15 winners of this year’s annual Gold Star Wine Awards. Selected by a panel of NOffLA judges and independent wine writers, the winners were recognised at an event in Ely Dublin. At the event, the association called on the Government to address excessive excise duty on wine and alcohol in Budget 2015 which will be announced next week.

Speaking at the awards, Evelyn Jones, Chairperson NOffLA congratulated the winners and commented on the issues affecting the off-licence trade. Commenting; “Every year we celebrate the outstanding produce that our highly trained members offer the Irish consumers on a daily basis. We are uniquely committed to excellence across the board both in terms of the service we provide but also the quality of wines we offer”.

“This combination of personal service and quality of choice is however under threat due to Government policy. Independent retailers all across Ireland have struggled due to the economic downturn however successive excise increases have driven 544 off-licences out of business since 2008. There has been a 62% excise increase in wine over the past two budgets with distributors and importers, SMEs, paying nearly €18,000 (€17,958) more on every 1,000 cases purchased[1].”

“Ireland has the highest tax on wine in the EU which unfairly, not only affects retailers but also consumers. For every €9 bottle of wine purchased by an Irish consumer, almost €5 (€4.86) is paid in tax[2]. With independent businesses under threat from increased business and consumer taxation, communities all across Ireland are suffering as a result of punitive taxation measures. The 2014 NOffLA member’s survey found that almost 60% of independent off-licences could close in 2015 if excise is increased in Budget 2015 jeopardising over 1,000 jobs.”

“As we have seen over the past few days, the Government stance on alcohol taxation does not make sense, a point reflected by the fact that the Department of Enterprise has come under pressure from members of the current Government to ban below cost selling. Below cost selling of alcohol is costing the exchequer over €20 million on an annual basis while the current level of excise duty unfairly punishes SMEs.”

“An Taoiseach has claimed that Budget 2015 will create an extra 15,000 jobs due to new tax measures however this Government is potentially ignoring the risk to 92,000 jobs across the Irish alcohol industry if it does not address the issue of excise duty. These people, who are also voters, have been on the receiving end of successive excise increases and are approaching breaking point.”

“NOffLA members are highly trained and responsible local retailers that contribute to their communities through direct investment and local employment. We are calling on the Government to protect these local businesses that underpin communities all across Ireland. Our 2014 members survey also found that 56% would hire more staff and 33% increase wages if excise was reversed, clearly underlining our member’s commitment to continue to serve and actively support communities across Ireland.”

In excess of 600 wines were submitted to the Gold Star Award adjudication panel.  Points were awarded on the basis of appearance, smell, taste and value for money criteria and the winning 15 were selected as the best wines, from the key suppliers across a number of price categories.

The winners on the night included Taserra Wine Merchants, Liberty Wines, Findlater Wine & Spirit Group, Mackenway Distributors Ltd., Cassidy Wines Distribution Ltd. and Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard.

Each of the winning wines will be sold in NOffLA member outlets, of which there are more than 315 nationwide.  The chosen wines will be recognisable by distinctive Award symbols on each bottle. In the pre-Christmas period NOffLA members will promote the Gold Star Awards 2014-2015 Collection as ideal Christmas gifts, in a variety of special gift packs.

Click here for more information on the Gold Star Awards 2014-2015


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