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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

One-third drop in tax take from alcohol sales in four years

The sale of spirits, beer and cider all dropped significantly between 2007 and 2010 – but we apparently still like our wine…

Image: jabneyhastings via

ALCOHOL SALES DROPPED off so much in the space of four years that the Revenue Commissioners were taking in €304m less tax from the sector in 2010 than they did in 2007. That constitutes a drop of around 27 per cent.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan, responding to a question from Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle in the Dáil this week, said that while there was no way of knowing how much alcohol was sold in off-licenses compared to that sold in licensed premises, it was possible to calculate the tax levy on alcohol through the years.

In 2007, the Revenue Commissioners took €1.13 billion in the alcohol products tax. In 2008, that dropped to €1.069 billion; it dropped again in 2009 and 2010 to €968m and €826m respectively. No figures for 2011 are yet available.

It is possible from the figures to see which beverages suffered the largest drop in sales between 2007 and 2010. Wine sales stayed relatively steady but spirits, beer and cider sales all saw a significant drop:

Alcohol products tax take on beer:

  • 2007 – €464.8m
  • 2008 – €427.2m
  • 2009 – €404.3m
  • 2010 – €320.1m

Alcohol products tax take on spirits:

  • 2007 – €367.6m
  • 2008 – €350.9m
  • 2009 – €264.1m
  • 2010 – €243.5m

Alcohol products tax take on wine:

  • 2007 – €230.2m
  • 2008 – €231.3m
  • 2009 – €242.5m
  • 2010 – €218.8m

Alcohol products tax take on cider:

  • 2007 – €68.3m
  • 2008 – €60.6m
  • 2009 – €57.1m
  • 2010 – €44m

These figures show that the alcohol products tax take (and therefore sales) of beer dropped by 31 per cent, sales of spirits by 34 per cent, sales of cider by 36 per cent but sales of wine only fell by 5 per cent between 2007 and 2010.

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