The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has asserted that newly published CSO figures confirm the massive contribution the drinks industry makes to Ireland’s agri-food exports.
The CSO data indicates that drinks exports have grown by 8.65% since June 2016 and were valued at €527 million for the first 6 months of this year.
Whiskey exports alone increased by 18.5% in H1 of 2017, amounting to €256m, while the Irish spirits category has undergone a spectacular revival in recent years with exports up by 16% since June 2016.
ABFI director Patricia Callan, stated: "The drinks industry has committed itself to achieve the targets set out in Food Wise 2025 to increase the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion. Meeting the government’s Food Wise 2025 targets would see the drinks industry increasing exports by at least €700 million. Given the huge potential the industry has for further export led-growth, it is concerning that the government is planning to introduce the most restrictive and punitive barriers to this growth in the form of the Public Health Alcohol Bill."
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Callan added: "The restrictions in the Bill on advertising and labelling will severely constrain the ability of small producers and new entrants, like craft distilleries and breweries, to get a foothold in the Irish market and will damage their export prospects generally. We want to work with the government and other stakeholders to find workable measures that will strike the balance between achieving public health objectives and supporting a thriving Irish industry."