Irish Tea Party? Emerald Isle Ire Over Wine Tax

 


Bitter is the first half of every bottle of wine in Ireland. 
 
Earlier this week, The Independent’s Aideen Sheehan revealed new numbers which show that half of what Irish wine drinkers pay for their vino goes directly to the government to cover a bouquet of taxes. 
 
“Over €5 from a typical €10 bottle goes in excise duty and tax and this has soared by 35 (percent) over the last four years,” Sheehan wrote.
 
The high taxes are causing off-license (locations which sell alcohol for consumption off-premises) vendors to demand a “reduction in the tax on wine,” which, Sheehan said, is more than 60 percent higher than the average per-bottle tax in the European Union. 
 
“While a few years ago €6.27 out of a €10 bottle would to to the wine itself, the increased tax take has now reduced that to just €4.94,” she wrote. 
 
Evelyn Jones, a liquor-store owner in Dublin, said the quality of wine is suffering because of the increase. 
 
“It’s extremely difficult to source quality wine that can sell for €10 a bottle, which is a price-point many people seek,” Jones told The Independent.
According to the story, selling wine in Ireland isn’t such a lucrative proposition anymore. The €4.94 average take on a bottle of €10 wine “has to be shared between retailers, wholesalers, distributors, shippers and bottlers, meaning as little as €0.50 goes on the actual wine itself, and there are very few small-scale producers who can supply a quality product for that,” Jones told Sheehan.
 
While wine sellers are adamant about lowering tax, health advocates are equally as adamant about maintaining it. 
 
“Health campaigners are strongly opposed to reductions in tax on alcohol, citing the widespread problem of excessive drinking in Irish society,” the article said. “Revenue figures for early 2015 show a 5 percent increase in alcohol consumption in the first quarter, with wine sales up 6 percent, and campaigners have warned against slipping back to the binge drinking levels seen during the Celtic Tiger years.” 
 
According to the story, Jones, the liquor-store owner from Dublin, is also the government affairs boss for the National Off-License Association. 
 
Her organization is proposing a €0.82 reduction on government tax.
 
“We believe the Government has been cherry-picking wine for higher excise than beer or cider, simply because it’s not produced here,” Jones told Sheehan. “Yet it’s an artisan product and higher quality encourages people to drink it differently, whereas they end up drinking the low quality stuff like it’s lemonade.” 
 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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