Ireland’s alcohol bill will ‘hurt’ whiskey tourism industry

14th February, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

The advertising restrictions in Ireland’s alcohol bill will “hurt” the country’s whiskey tourism industry, the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has warned.

The Irish whiskey tourism industry will be affected by the advertising restrictions in the alcohol bill

The Irish whiskey tourism industry will be affected by the advertising restrictions in the alcohol bill

The proposed bill restricts advertisements that refer to alcohol branding, including where they are displayed.

This will mean that any advertisements for a distillery visitor centre will be unable to mention any alcohol brands by name.

The IWA is calling on the government to amend the alcohol bill so that whiskey distilleries are not impacted by the guidelines.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in the authenticity and provenance of whiskey,” said William Lavelle, head of the IWA.

“In an increasingly competitive market, whiskey distillery visitor centres play an integral role in telling the story of the Irish whiskey industry and the individual whiskey brands driving its recent renaissance. It allows whiskey consumers to get a better understanding of their drink of choice, and distillers to reach out to new customers in a more personal, authentic setting.”

In 2017, visitor numbers to Irish whiskey distilleries grew to 814,000, an 11% increase compared to the previous year. The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy plans to increase visitor numbers to distilleries to 1.9 million by 2025.

Lavelle added: “The whiskey industry is one of post-recession Ireland’s greatest success stories. These visitor centres are creating new jobs and driving visitors to areas of the country not traditionally associated with tourism.

“The alcohol bill in its current form risks undoing that. Whiskey distilleries rely on visitor centres to promote their product. With restrictions on advertising, there’s a real risk of industry growth slowing, a loss of future investment, and even job losses. Today we are asking the Government to carefully consider the sector and its potential for Irish tourism.”

Earlier this month, the IWA said that the Irish whiskey industry is “on target” to reach its 2020 goal to grow sales to 12 million cases.

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