Excise hike slammed despite Jameson success

Global sales of Jameson Irish whiskey grew by 16%, year on year, during the six months to the end of December, with volumes up by 13%.

In that timeframe — the first half of parent group Pernod Ricard’s latest financial year — Jameson, one of the French drink giant’s key global brands, saw either double or triple digit percentage sales growth in 54 markets.

However, its owners — via local subsidiary Irish Distillers — yesterday joined Heineken in criticising the Government over policy.

Irish Distillers called for a reversal of the 15% increase in excise on spirits, introduced in the budget.

This, along with the previous budget’s 20% hike, has had “a severe impact on the Irish market”, the company said.

“While we recognise the financial constraints that the Government is under, the recent series of punitive increases imposed on this vital part of the agri-food industry will have serious consequences, not only for established producers such as Irish Distillers but for new start-up Irish whiskey distilleries, publicans, retailers, and all of their employees,” said Irish Distillers chief executive Anna Malmhake.

She added that the country cannot afford to be “blinded” by positive figures showing food and drink exports reaching record values of nearly €10bn last year.

“The question we must now ask is how sustainable is this growth without a solid local market in which to support home-grown brands such as Jameson and to develop new market entrants.”


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