At first glance, the Irish drinks industry would appear to occupy a most enviable position. Directly and indirectly, it provides employment for over 105,000 persons, equivalent to 61,000 full time jobs. Its 2006 turnover of €2.9 billion represented 2.4% of Ireland’s total manufacturing output for that year. It generates total exports in excess of €1.3 billion per anum. And last, but by no means least, it contributes tax receipts of more than €2 billion every year to the Irish Exchequer.
However, the industry faces many challenges. Taxation is a major issue: wine and beer carry the highest levels of excise in the European Union, while spirits and cider carry the second highest. Cost competitiveness; the environmental impact of the industry; the implications of alcohol misuse: all these could threaten the long-term sustainability of our sector.
Rather than trying to address these considerable challenges on an ad hoc basis, the industry decided in late 2007 to establish a federation that would enable members to collectively tackle pan-industry issues.
And so the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) was born. With the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, ABFI is now fully prepared to work as one to face our challenges and achieve our goals.