Brexit’s Next Victim Might Just Be Wine Store Owners in Ireland

  • Sterling’s decline may drive drinkers across the Irish border
  • Wine industry calls for cuts in tax as ‘perfect storm’ brews
Photographer: Tetra Images/Getty Images

In a country better known for beer, Brexit is putting the squeeze on the wine industry.

The U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union is contributing to a “perfect storm” facing the Irish wine sector, the industry’s representatives said on Tuesday in Dublin, as sterling’s decline drives shoppers from the south to Northern Ireland.

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“The uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations has resulted in the falling value of sterling which is likely to drive cross-border shopping and has already seen a fall in the number of British tourists visiting Ireland,” Jim Bradley, chair of the Irish Wine Association, said in an e-mail statement.

The organization called on the government to cut the tax rate on wine to protect it from Brexit. Excise duty on wine in Ireland is the highest in the EU at 3.19 euros ($3.79) per 9 euro bottle of wine. Still, the industry seems to be surviving. In 2016 sales of 9 litre cases increased to just over 9 million, up from 8.56 million cases in 2015, the organization said.

Wine is Ireland’s second most popular alcohol after beer, with about a 28 percent market share.

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