Statement from Drinks Industry Leaders re Alcohol Awareness Week

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

It is time for evidence-based engagement

Revenue/CSO data shows Alcohol Consumption is
    • Down by a further 7.6% in past year
    • Down 25% since 2001
    • At pre-1990 levels

Wednesday 2nd April: With brand new figures from Revenue / CSO showing that consumption is now at pre-1990 levels and that Ireland fast approaching EU norms; leaders in Ireland of Diageo, Heineken and Irish Distillers, with the support of other alcohol manufacturers, have stated that alcohol misuse is still a problem in Ireland and that a collaborative approach needs to be taken to tackle harmful consumption.

David Smith, Country Director, Diageo said:

“Diageo absolutely wants to reduce harmful consumption. We want to create a sustainable future that sees our products enjoyed and not misused by a mature audience.

“With new figures from Revenue Commissioner showing that consumption has fallen by over 25% since 2001, this Alcohol Awareness Week, we are calling on all stakeholders to consider the important role that the industry needs to play as part of the societal response to alcohol misuse. We don’t have all the answers, but we are willing to work with anyone who genuinely wants to make a difference.”

Maggie Timoney, Managing Director, Heineken said:

“Heineken is committed and has been committed to tackling alcohol misuse. History and best practice dictate that the most effective way to find solutions that have meaningful impact is to engage in a concerted effort by all parties involved. Our industry employs 100,000 people, purchase raw materials worth €1.1 BN each year and the vast majority of Irish people consume alcohol in a manner that is entirely compatible with a healthy lifestyle.

“The Government’s recent excise increases have done little to affect societal change, succeeding only in threatening the future sustainability of the industry and in particular the Irish pub. We call on the Government to engage with us in a collaborative approach to tackle this issue which will make a real difference for generations to come.”

Anna Malmhake, CEO, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard said:

“We urge the government to work with all stakeholders to develop and introduce evidence-based solutions that will address alcohol misuse instead of punishing the majority of consumers who drink responsibly, with relentless tax hikes. As stated previously, we believe the reintroduction of the ban on below cost selling could be an immediately effective policy move in this area.

“The industry has shown continued commitment to delivering a positive response to alcohol harm in Ireland through initiatives such as drinkaware. Looking forward there are many things that the industry can do to bring about a society where alcohol is enjoyed, not abused, and being drunk is simply uncool.”

For more information contact: Q4 PR 01 475 1444
Ruth O’Byrnes 086 055 8331 / Colin Taylor

Ruth O’Byrnes
Account Director
Q4 Public Relations
88 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

Mobile: 086 055 8331
Telephone: 01 475 1444