Wine tax hike has forced 51,000 to give up the bottle

QUALITY: Evelyn Jones

Joyce Fegan

A STAGGERING 51,000 Irish people have stopped buying wine in the past three months.

Irish consumers have changed their buying habits due to changes in the Budget.

"Increased duty on alcohol as part of the October Budget has affected wine in particular, where the average price has increased by 16pc," said David Berry of Kantar Worldpanel, a consumer monitoring group.

"As a result 51,000 fewer shoppers have put wine in their baskets," added Mr Berry.

And of those who still buy wine, they've cut back by almost one bottle a week. The sudden drop-off can be linked to the 50c levy put on bottles of wine in the October Budget, explained Mr Berry.

"The Budget has led people to be more conscious of what they're spending," Mr Berry told the Herald.

This decrease is "one of the biggest changes since cross-border purchasing (of alcohol)," said Mr Berry. "It's the biggest challenge we've faced since then."

Cross-border shopping has come back again though, with the group noting an increase in the number of households heading north. The National Off-Licence Association says the statistics are "not all surprising". Chairperson Evelyn Jones told the Herald that tax on wine here is 576pc higher than the EU average and that the levy increases on it over the past two years means it's now considered a luxury product, one that "most people in this country cannot afford".


Ms Jones also noted that due to the substantial increase in excise duty on wine its "quality has decreased dramatically".

Tesco seen a 6pc drop in sales leading to its share of the market dropping from 28pc to 26.5pc.

"Dunnes performed ahead of the market for the third successive month, and has grown its market share from 23pc to 23.6pc," Mr Berry explained.

The figures come ahead of the festive period where some people will buy wine in bulk to entertain friends and family.

Mr Berry also said there's a "healthy competition" amongst the various retailers and fresh food was at the "forefront" of this, which means vegetables are cheaper than they were this time last year.