Drink industry launches plan for State to protect it from Brexit

Industry body says Brexit will cost drink and hospitality industries €130 million this year

Temple Bar in Dublin. The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland wants the Government to implement measures to counter the effects of Brexit on hospitality businesses and drink manufacturers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Temple Bar in Dublin. The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland wants the Government to implement measures to counter the effects of Brexit on hospitality businesses and drink manufacturers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A drinks industry lobbying group has claimed the tourism and alcohol industries are “inseparable”, as it launched a five-point plan of recommendations for the State to protect the drink industry from the effects of Brexit.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi), which represents manufacturers and retailers of alcohol, says that both industries must bear a combined €130 million cost this year due to declining numbers of British visitors, and also cross-Border shopping for drink by southerners to the North.

Digi attributes a €70 million cost to the 6.2 per cent drop in British visitors, and a €60 million cost to the drink industry from cross-Border shopping.

It has called the forthcoming budget the “Brexit budget” and wants the Government to implement a series of measures to counter the effects on pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses, as well as drink manufacturers.

Commenting on a Brexit report it commissioned from DCU economist Anthony Foley, Digi is now calling on the Government to cut excise tax on alcohol by 15 per cent; secure funding from Europe to mitigate the effects of Brexit; maintain the 9 per cent tourism VAT rate; create regional “Brexit hubs” to oversee rural hospitality and tourism in the Department of Rural Affairs; and establish a Brexit business board to come up with cost-cutting ideas for industry.

“Ireland’s tourism industry, which is inseparable from its drinks industry, is disproportionately reliant on the British market,” said Digi.

“To weather the coming storm, the Government must commit to pro-business, pro-growth measures that safeguard at-risk industries, including the drinks and hospitality industry and broader tourism sector,” said Donall O’Keeffe, the secretary of Digi and chief executive of Dublin pubs group the Licensed Vintners Association.