Irish alcohol and tobacco prices ‘highest in EU’

Irish whiskey is more expensive in Ireland than it is in the United States

Together both alcohol and tobacco in Ireland costs 70 per cent more than the EU average price. Photograph: Thinkstock.

Together both alcohol and tobacco in Ireland costs 70 per cent more than the EU average price. Photograph: Thinkstock.

 

Alcohol and tobacco prices in Ireland are the most expensive in the European Union, according to a Eurostat survey.

Together both alcohol and tobacco costs 70 per cent more in the State than the EU average price.

The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) stated that the differential between Ireland and the rest of the EU was due to a “staggering variation in excise duty”.

It states that wine duty is 624 per cent higher than the average EU figure. Beer is 298 per cent higher and spirits 243 per cent higher.

NOffLA government affairs director Evelyn Jones said the Eurostat results “highlight the disproportionate and unfair campaign the Irish Government alone is waging against the alcohol sector.

“It is simply wrong to suggest high prices benefit anyone other than the Government. Not only is it anti-consumer, the level of excise means there is very little left for the actual producer, let alone the wholesaler and retailer - 65.2 per cent of a bottle of spirits is tax, leaving 34.8 per cent to pay the supplier, staff and overheads before any profit is seen.”

The next most expensive countries are the UK (65 per cent over the EU average) and Finland (36 per cent above).

Only one country in Europe is more expensive than Ireland for alcohol and tobacco and that is Norway, where prices are 239 per cent greater than the EU average.

Eurostat, which is the EU’s statistical agency, stressed that the costs involved in purchasing alcohol and tobacco are more to do with the taxes levelled on these products than anything else.

The Support Your Local campaign, which represents pubs, off-licences, restaurants and hotels, says Irish whiskey is more expensive in Ireland than it is in the United States.

A one litre bottle of Jameson is €41.70 in The Loop in Dublin Airport of which the total tax is €24.83.

By comparison it is $29.99 (€26.61) in Total Wine and More in California, €30.99 (€27.50) in Crown Liquors Indianapolis and $31.99 ( €28.39) in Reno , Nevada.

Support Your Local campaign manager Bart Storan said: “The latest figures reveal that US tourists are often able to purchase a bottle of Irish whiskey for half the price at home. Ireland’s high alcohol tax take has left us in the strange position where Ireland is now one of the most expensive countries in the world to buy Irish whiskey.”

Overall, Ireland is the fifth most expensive country in the EU for consumer goods and services behind Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

Prices are 21 per cent more expensive in Ireland than the EU average.

Ireland is the sixth most expensive country in the EU for food and non-alcoholic beverages, which are 15 per cent higher than the average.

Clothing is most expensive in Sweden, Denmark and Finland and least expensive in Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary. Prices for clothing in Ireland are 92 per cent of the EU average.

Consumer electronics are most expensive in Malta, Cyprus and Denmark, and least expensive in Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Hungary. Consumer electronic prices in Ireland are in line with the EU average.

Cars, motorcycles and bicycles are most expensive in Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal and least expensive in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. Prices in Ireland are 8 per cent above the EU average.

Restaurants and hotels in Ireland cost 127 per cent of the EU average. They are most expensive in Denmark, Sweden and Finland and least expensive in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria