Irish whiskey tax ‘more than bottle in US’

An Irish parliamentary committee has been told that Ireland is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy its own whiskey, with the tax on a purchase there being more than the total cost of a bottle in New York.

Ireland government building

Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliamentary building

The Irish Independent reports that whiskey entrepreneur Marie Byrne told the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) agriculture committee that the tax on a bottle of whiskey in Ireland is more than the total purchase price for one in New York.

“The €17.37 tax take on a bottle of Jameson in Ireland is more than the total price of that same bottle (€16.61) in New York,” she said.

Ms Byrne condemned the high tax for reducing domestic sales and “ripping off” tourists.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) is calling for reductions on the excise duty as they said this was limiting its growth potential.

Currently the alcohol industry purchased 50,000 apples a year, 200,000 tonnes of barley and 300 million litres of milk, supporting 12,000 farmers and 92,000 jobs according to DIGI chairman Peter O’Brien.

He detailed how the average Irish drinker now paid €733 a year in tax — twice as much as the €302 paid by a German drinker, even though consumption levels were almost identical.

However, politicians criticised the industry calls for lower taxes given the finding this week that 1.3 million people in Ireland drink harmfully.

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