Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard chief executive Anna Malmhake has said that "penal excise increases" in recent Budgets mean that the outlook for the Irish whiskey industry in Ireland is "extremely concerning".
Calling on the government to reverse the previous year's excise increases in the forthcoming Budget, "in order to ensure the future commercial viability of drinks related enterprises in Ireland," Malmhake noted that Ireland is one of the most expensive places in the world in which to buy the group's signature product, Jameson.
"Ireland is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy Irish whiskey with the €17.37 tax take on a bottle of Jameson in Ireland working out more than the total price (€16.61) of that same bottle in New York," she said. "How sustainable is the current international growth of Irish whiskey without a solid local market in which to support home grown brands as well as new market entrants?"
She said that the high price of alcohol in general (at 178% of the EU average) "has only served to damage the industry and increase costs for responsible drinkers doing little to address misuse." A reduction in excise, she added, would help stimulate growth in an industry that has "huge opportunity for job creation."
Malmhake made her comments as part of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard's year-end briefing, which revealed that Jameson sales volumes hit 4.7 million cases in FY 2013/14. Of the 130 markets in which Jameson is sold internationally, 47 achieved two to three digit growth.