Wicklow businesses to be affected by alcohol bill

A spirit safe during distillation, photo from Powerscourt Distillery.

A Wicklow distillery has warned that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill could negatively impact businesses in the area.

The bill, which would see many restrictions placed on the alcohol industry, including mandatory cancer-warning labels on all alcohol products, is set to go before the Dáil within the next few months.

Despite the bill’s aim to crack down on underage drinking and alcohol-related illness, local distilleries have expressed concerns about the impact the new regulations may have on local business.

Alex Pierce, the chief executive of Powerscourt Distillery has said that he supports the goals of the bill but has also stated that “Some of the proposed measures are likely to disproportionately harm local businesses without necessarily advancing the intended aims.”

“The proposed requirement for cancer-warning labels to be added to alcohol products from Ireland therefore, will impart negative reputational impact upon our industry. It applies a stigma to local products which must compete in fiercely competitive international arenas.”

Some of the Wicklow drinks producers that could be negatively impacted by the legislation are Wicklow Wolf Brewery, Glendalough Distillery, Barr an Uisce, and Powerscourt Distillery.

Patricia Callan of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has said that “At a time when the future of international trade is uncertain, with Brexit and trade wars, the Irish Government should not create an additional barrier to trade in the form of cancer warning labels. We are urging the Government to remove this requirement from the Alcohol Bill.”

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