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Higher taxes and stricter regulations
on spirit drinks limit competitiveness, consumer choice,
Drinks inequality has a negative impact on:
Have you been impacted by the unequal treatment of spirits?
My name is Tanya and I am a chemical engineering student in Brussels. My background is one of the reasons why I'm fascinated by cocktails. I love the combination of science and art that goes into making one.
My favourite drink is a Gin & Tonic, because with two simple ingredients you can make a cocktail that’s aromatic, fruity, even flowery.
But on a night out in Brussels, I often end up buying beer or wine because they are much cheaper than spirits. The crazy difference in price forces me to settle for my second choice because cocktails are too expensive in this city.
If taxes on spirits were not as high and closer to those of beer and wine, bars would be able to make cocktails more affordable for cocktail aficionados like me.
I support #AllDrinksAreEqual for greater variety and consumer choice!
My name is Ferenc and I’m a Gin distiller from Hungary.
Unfortunately, high taxes on spirits strongly impacts my business and pushes people to buy cheaper alternatives. The average consumer thinks twice before buying my product because of its higher price compared to other alcoholic beverages, and probably asks himself/herself “why does this drink cost this much?”
Premium Gin is already expensive to make, the main source of our costs are the spices used for gin distillation. Basically around 30-40% of the gin’s price comes from the spices used in it, making it one of the most expensive spirits to produce in the world!
It is unfair that producers of other alcoholic beverages, such as beer or wine, can sell their quality products at a lower price, while spirit producers are forced to sell their quality products at a much higher price.
If taxes were equal for all alcoholic drinks, people would enjoy a wider variety of drinks and could make fairer choices... Ending tax discrimination would be positive for everyone – from distillers to retailers to bar-owners to consumers. I support drinks equality!
My name is Pierre and I run a Belgian family business dating back to 1920 selling and producing artisanal and rare alcoholic beverages in two retail shops, via wholesale, and we also produce our own spirit drinks for pastry making. A rare gem in the industry!
In 2015, the Belgian government abruptly increased the excise tax on spirits and wine leading to an unfortunate 50% decrease in our sales of spirits for pastry making and impacting our sales of sparkling wine and champagne due to cross-border competition.
The incoherent and illogical tax scheme across the EU has impacted the viability of my business, creating unfavourable conditions for the products that I sell. I hope the EU and Belgium will create a more balanced taxation scheme for all alcoholic beverages to allow long-standing family businesses like my own to be able to compete and stay afloat.I support #AllDrinksAreEqual for greater variety and consumer choice!
My name is Tania and I am the owner of Edgar's Flavours cocktail bar in Brussels. The Covid-19 crisis has drastically impacted the Horeca industry which is working hard to move past these challenging times. The high taxation on spirits is not of added value for our business. In fact, I believe that reducing the higher taxes on spirits would enable us to re-invest these costs elsewhere. For instance, we could look to expand our team by hiring more people, like bartenders and mixologists, or invest in innovative ways to grow our business.
My name is Babis and I am the founder of the “Bar Academy”, a hospitality training centre in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece and of the “Athens Bar Show”, an annual educational expo for bartenders and hospitality professionals hosting more than 10k guests each year!
I am passionate about providing learning opportunities and skill to hospitality employees and entrepreneurs. It’s important for me to grow and support the hospitality sector and cocktail culture in Greece as it is an integral part of our hospitality culture, tourism and economy!
Unfortunately, in 2009, the cost of spirits increased due to a rise in excise duties of +125%, without the same happening to wine or beer. The unfair and unilateral burden on spirits, led hospitality businesses and customers to choose “cheaper” spirits of potentially lower quality, and in some regions of the country, adulterated alcoholic beverages. Beer and wine have become a more affordable choice than spirits or cocktails, even though they fulfil the same consumer need, that is to enjoy these products during social and celebratory moments.
I would like to see policymakers treat all alcoholic beverages fair and for the excise duty to be equally distributed across the board, regardless of their category and based on the alcohol they contain. It will ensure that consumers and people who work with spirits, mixed drinks, and cocktails will not be burdened with additional indirect taxes versus those who chose to drink or work with beer and wine. This will also create a bigger demand for specialized and skilled bartenders, thus supporting employment and state revenues.