Irish Spirits Association hails distillery sales billBy Annie Hayes
Trade body the Irish Spirits Association (ISA) has hailed a new bill that will remove “major regulatory barriers” for Ireland’s distilleries by allowing producers to sell alcohol on-site.
Following the introduction of The Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016 in November, the Labour party has progressed the bill in a private members motion.
The bill would permit distilleries, breweries, and cider makers located throughout the country to sell their own produce once it has been distilled or brewed on-site to visitors without requiring a full bar licence.
Head of the ISA, Miriam Mooney, welcomed the news, adding that Irish whiskey tourism is becoming “a real success story”.
“Despite the challenging economic and political uncertainty that exists, the drinks industry continues to drive economic growth.” she said. “There’s been a huge surge in tourists visiting distilleries in all parts of the country. It’s becoming a real success story, and one the Irish Government should continue to support through measures like the ones in this bill.
“The ability to fully capitalise on our member’s potential is being hampered by current licensing regulations. This bill will support the new distilleries and micro-breweries to develop brand recognition with tourists and aid future growth of the sector.”
The spirits sector contributes more than €483m to the Exchequer every year and exports 95% of its produce to over 80 markets around the world, supporting over 14,700 jobs in all regions.
According to industry analysis, more than 650,000 tourists visit distilleries in Ireland each year.
As Article 50 trigger date draws closer, The Spirits Business considers how spirits producers on the island of Ireland will be affected when Britain leaves the EU.