The Facts

The drinks industry is an integral part of the Irish economy. It directly employs 90,000 people in a national network of pubs, off-licences, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wholesalers, distributors, and other supporting businesses.

By supplying drinks to hotels, tourist attractions and other hospitality businesses, the drinks industry enables approximately 175,000 jobs in the wider hospitality sector, or 7.5% of the entire Irish workforce.

  • The drinks industry exports over €1.25 billion of produce annually
  • It contributes more than €2.3 billion in revenue to the Exchequer
  • The drinks industry and hospitality sector together generate €2.9 billion in wages
  • Ireland’s drinks products are among the world’s favourites—Cork-produced Heineken is drunk in 192 countries, Guinness in 150 countries, Baileys in 130, and Jameson in 120
  • Overseas tourists say that a visit to a real Irish pub is one of the most important factors influencing their decision to travel to Ireland
  • The Guinness Storehouse is visited by half of all visitors to Dublin—it recently outranked the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum as the top fee-paying attraction in Europe

An innovative industry

To remain attractive at home and competitive globally, the Irish drinks industry is focused on innovation. Irish breweries and distilleries—even local pubs—are committed to improving their products and services.

  • Drinks manufacturing enterprises increased by 105% in the years 2008-2014
  • The number of microbreweries producing their own product has more than quadrupled since 2012
  • The number of new distilling licences increased from 7 to 35, or by 400%, between 2009 and 2016
  • 73% of Irish publicans have recently refurbished their premises in the last three years
  • Visitor centre innovation could see Ireland become a leader in global whiskey tourism by 2030

Ireland’s high excise tax

Ireland has the second highest overall alcohol excise tax in the EU. We have the highest EU excise tax on wine, the second highest tax on beer and the third highest tax on spirits. This hinders innovation and growth, and makes the Irish drinks market less competitive.

  • Excise tax on a pint of beer is 55 cents, compared to just 5 cents in Germany
  • €3.19 on every bottle of 75cl wine goes to the Government, compared to €2.54 in the UK—and zero in fourteen other EU countries
  • Nearly €12 in the price of standard bottle of whiskey bought in an Irish off-licence is excise tax, compared to less than €5 in France