Death & Taxes

taxesIf you think the 30 odd planned distilleries in Ireland are indicative of a whiskey boom look to the U.S. In 2010 there were 92 registered operating distilleries in the U.S.A. Today there are 932, one in every state. There is an application for a new license every business day here.  The majority of these U.S. distilleries are domestically focused, in that they sell locally. The business model here is to build a distillery and if the state laws allow it, open a tasting room and eventually move onto regional or national distribution. All these businesses hiring local people, using local ingredients, paying local taxes are starting to get noticed and are winning a voice in a way that matters. This morning I’m at the airport and have received an email notifying me that the Blunt-Wyden Amendment to the FAA bill – The Craft Beverage Modernization Act is on the senate floor.

This bill proposes that craft spirit producers who make less than 100,000 gallons per annum, will have a reduction in tax levies on that $13.50 per proof gallon down to $2.70 per proof gallon. To clarify that is from $3.62 per Litre down to 72 cents per litre. The implications of this on these businesses are enormous. It will allow them to price their products more accessibly, because of course, a small producer will pay vastly more in cost of goods and production than a multinational. This bill could even out the playing field a little more and give the small guys a fighting chance.

Here in Ireland the equivalent tax is, wait for it, €42.75 per litre for everyone. Pernod Ricard is liable for that and I am liable for that…. Can you imagine creating a product and trying to price it knowing that the end consumer will be liable to pay that tax???  Welcome to my world. This is why whiskey is so expensive in this country, it is not the producers gouging people it’s the government. Craft breweries received relief here in Ireland this year of 50%. They were originally paying €11.27 per HECTOLITER, so compared to us had a pretty sweet deal already.

We desperately need a bill for relief for craft producers here in Ireland. I’m not the only new player in the industry to bang this drum and I won’t be the last, hopefully. Just like in the U.S. the more we grow and contribute to our local and national economies the louder our voice.

If only we actually had a government in Ireland right now we could lobby them…..

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