Irish Whiskey Association criticises 'ludicrous' new rules in Public Health Alcohol Bill

Irish Whiskey Association criticises 'ludicrous' new rules in Public Health Alcohol Bill

The Irish Whiskey Association has described parts of the Public Health Alcohol Bill as "ludicrous".

It is because of regulations that would prevent many distilleries from putting up signs pointing visitors in their direction.

The ban is imposed close to schools or public transport stops.

Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, William Lavelle, says that will mean such signs will not be allowed in a distillery town like Tullamore.

Mr Lavelle said: "Tullamore Dew, which is iconic for Tullamore, which has a visitor centre right in the heart of the town on the banks of the Grand Canal won't be able to put up signs to direct tourists how to get to the visitor centre.

"That's the kind of ludicrous impact that this bill is going to introduce."

Whiskey distillers are calling on the health minister to reconsider parts of the Public Health Alcohol Bill.

The Irish Whiskey Association says the new rules restricting signage and advertising will damage the business of many smaller distilleries.

Mr Lavelle said: “Small distilleries and innovative, new brands will lose out the most if advertising restrictions come in as they will struggle to compete with more established brands.

"The advertising of spirits is already banned on television. The draconian restrictions to outdoor advertising and promotion provided for in this Bill are an unnecessary step too far.

"They are anti-competitive, they will stifle innovation, they will limit consumer choice and they will put jobs at risk.

“We are calling for a small number of reasonable amendments to protect the Irish whiskey tourism sector and small distillers around Ireland. It’s not too late to get this right.”

He said it also does not make sense for places like the Liberties in Dublin.

Mr Lavelle said: "If an Irish Whiskey Distillery has a visitor centre, that visitor centre in built-up urban areas won't be able to advertise, it won't be able to put up directional signs for tourists.

"You take a place like Dublin's Liberties where we currently have two visitor centres and another two in development, yet they won't be able to put up signs to point tourists into the direction to walk or to differentiate themselves."

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