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Carlow Brewing Company calls for a reduction in excise duties in the next budget

Carlow Brewing Company is among the cider producers who have called on the finance minister to include a measure to cut excise duties by fifty percent for craft cider producers in this year’s budget.

Irish craft brewers currently benefit from a special reduction in excise duty and Drinks Ireland | Cider, the representative group of Irish cider producers, says the reduction should be extended to producers of craft cider.

The call comes as Seamus O’Hara, founder and CEO of Carlow Brewing Company, which produces a range of Falling Apple and Craigies cider brands, has just been re-elected for a second term as president of Drinks Ireland | Cider .

“We are asking that the excise exemption program, which currently benefits microbreweries, is simply extended to producers of artisanal cider. There are at least a dozen craft cider producers scattered across Ireland, including ours in Bagenalstown, who would benefit greatly from this reduction.

“Ireland already has the third highest rate of excise duty on cider in the EU and this reduction in excise duty for artisanal cider producers will allow more investment in the sector with the aim of replicating the expansion that the craft beer industry has known for the past 15 years, ”says Seamus O’Hara.

The past 18 months have been difficult for the cider industry as a whole. The various phased closures of hospitality venues in Ireland have increased cider purchases in the retail sector, but this was not enough to make up for the loss of cider sales in pubs, restaurants and hotels .

Typically, around 45% of cider purchases were made in stores, with 55% in non-commerce. However, in 2020, only 16% of cider was sold commercially, with 84% of sales in non-commerce, illustrating the massive change in buying habits.

The impact of Covid on cider, which relies heavily on convenience stores, has caused its alcoholic beverages market share to drop from 7.4% in 2019 to 6.9% in 2020.

Jonathan McDade, Cider Manager at Drinks Ireland said:

“The Irish cider industry has had a difficult 18 months and any help from the government would be welcome. The excise duty exemption program for Irish craft brewers has seen the number of brick-and-mortar breweries grow from 8 to 75 in the space of a decade.

Extending this program to artisanal cider producers could lead to further growth in the sector, foster more innovation and potentially offer more choices to consumers. “


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