Shoppers head North for cut-price alcohol


As the credit crunch hits more consumers are flocking to the North to purchase cut-price alcohol, it was revealed today.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), which represents drinks manufacturers and suppliers, has expressed concern that the increase in cross-border purchases could endanger jobs in the drinks industry.

According to recent figures, One in six households in the Republic went to the North to shop over the
summer, with alcohol representing a significant part of the savings made.

A survey show that by travelling to Northern Ireland consumers can currently save over 30 per cent on leading alcohol brands.

ABFI today called on the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan not to increase excise duties in the forthcoming Budget, saying that such a move would

"The Northern off-trade sector is growing at a rate of 20 per cent, mainly as a result of increased custom from the Republic. This compares with flat growth here in the South. This is a worrying situation from the point of view of both the industry and the Government," said ABFI director Rosemary Garth.

"If consumers travel North for a better deal, we lose out on vital custom in difficult economic times. For the State, the loss in excise and VAT revenue has obvious implications," she added.

"The drinks industry makes a €2.2billionn contribution to the Irish exchequer and supports the equivalent of 61,000 full time jobs. The country must not do anything that further erodes our competitive position," said Ms Garth.

Recent figures reveal alcohol consumption in the Republic is down by 7 per cent this year while last month saw a 14 per cent fall compared to August last year.