‘Ludicrous’ outdoor advertising restrictions will damage visitor centres and small distilleries, according to the Irish whiskey industry.
The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has called for “a small number of reasonable amendments [to the Alcohol Bill] to protect the Irish whiskey tourism sector and small distillers around Ireland”.
The drinks group has warned that the new Bill will ban the display of free-standing directional or way-marking signage containing the name of a distillery or alcohol brand at any Luas or bus stops.
The ban will also be implemented anywhere within a 200-metre radius of a school or early-years facility, and William Lavelle, head of the IWA, has called some of the measures“excessive”.
“The Irish whiskey industry supports the objectives of the Alcohol Bill. It is in our industry’s long-term interest to promote sustainable and responsible levels of alcohol consumption in Ireland,” he said.
“However, some of the measures included in the Alcohol Bill are excessive, impractical, disproportionate and in some cases, just ludicrous.”
The group claims that any outdoor advertising and directional signage for distillery visitor centres will be pretty much wiped out in dense urban centres like Dublin or in busy provincial towns like Tullamore.
Lavelle continued: “It is ludicrous to think that at a time when the Irish Government is promoting Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Tullamore D.E.W. visitor centre won’t be allowed to erect named signs in their hometown.
“Equally concerning is the fact that the four existing or planned distilleries in Dublin’s Liberties will not be permitted to display signage to differentiate each other and direct tourists to each distillery.
In addition to the lack of directions, the IWA criticised the government for not engaging with the industry and scrutinising the Bill.
It added that the new bans on advertising will impact the competitiveness of smaller distilleries, which take up a majority of the domestic market and help “spur-on exciting competition and innovation”.
“Small distilleries and innovative, new brands will lose out the most if advertising restrictions come in as they will struggle to compete with more established brands,” Lavelle added.
“The advertising of spirits is already banned on television. The draconian restrictions on outdoor advertising and promotion provided for in this Bill are an unnecessary step too far.
“They are anti-competitive, they will stifle innovation, they will limit consumer choice and they will put jobs at risk,” he concluded.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.