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Global Irish Whiskey Sales Could Be Impacted By Plain Packaging Of Tobacco, Packaging Expert Warns

Published on May 27 2014 11:02 AM in Retail

Global Irish Whiskey Sales Could Be Impacted By Plain Packaging Of Tobacco, Packaging Expert Warns

Packaging industry spokesperson Mike Ridgway has said that the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products could impact sales in other product categories, including Irish whiskey, sooner rather than later.

Ridgway, the former managing director of packaging giant Weidenhammer UK and spokesperson for the Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance (CPMA), said that plain packaging could soon spread to alcohol and other sectors, as a global trade dispute over tobacco plain packaging intensifies.

Indonesia, he noted, has already threatened to ban alcohol branding in retaliation for governments around the world pressing ahead with tobacco plain packaging legislation. The Asian country is a major producer of tobacco products.

“We have long feared that introducing plain packs for tobacco products would eventually lead to plain packaging in other sectors," said Ridgway. "It now looks like these fears could become reality sooner than anyone expected.

“Indonesia represents a market of nearly 250 million consumers and if they retaliate to plain pack cigarettes by adopting branding bans for alcohol it would affect all alcohol products sold to Indonesia from anywhere in the world. Irish whiskey would be among those items to drop its branding and packaging for grotesque graphic health warnings."

Ridgway noted that the introduction of plain packaging in Australia has impacted retail sales to the tune of €250 million, despite "absolutely no evidence" that plain packaging has reduced smoking rates there.

“Instead it has led to a rapid growth in the sale of illegal cigarettes and has triggered a trade dispute that could now engulf the alcohol industry and other sectors," he said. "We urge the Irish government to launch a new consultation on plain packaging and based on the latest evidence, we urge them to abandon this disastrous policy with widespread unknown consequences.”

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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