Ireland’s budget for 2013 was announced yesterday and they put 10 cent (€0.10) on the price of a pint. In Ireland duty is levied per hectolitre per cent alcohol by volume (as it is in the UK). The previous rate was €15.71 per hectolitre per cent ABV. Guinness is 4.2%ABV so, at 176 pints to the hectolitre, the exchequer took 37.49 cents per pint. The increase takes it up to 47.49 cents or roughly and increase of 26.7%. At this rate we are still doing better than the UK where the duty is presently £19.51 per hectolitre per cent ABV or about €24.04. Given that beer in pubs is considerably cheaper in the UK than in Ireland (they’re paying about €4 per pint; we’re paying €5), it is the publicans we need to get cross with. Even with the increase, the duty on a pint comes to less than a tenth its total cost.
The consumer organisation Beoir, which aims to support Ireland’s indigenous craft breweries released this pre-budget representation. I’m a member of Beoir and am disappointed with the position it takes. Last year it asked for microbreweries to be granted the right to sell their produce at farmers’ markets and at the brewery (neither of which happened). Those are still worthy causes, because anything that promotes local small scale enterprise is good. Microbreweries create more jobs relative to the amount of beer they produce than large breweries. The campaign against a minimum price of alcohol, on the other hand, protects the supermarkets against independent alcohol retailers and pubs, and focusses on the bottom of the quality spectrum ignoring the danger of across the board price rises.