Over a thousand pubs have closed in Ireland since the economic crisis hit in 2007 leaving the industry in a state of despair, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).
Speaking to the Joint Oireachtas Committee of Finance, DIGI said that a higher tax rate on alcohol, coupled with a poor economy, has left the industry in tatters.
\"Excise damages our rural pubs and independent off-licences,\" said Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland.
\"Since 2007 over 1,000 pubs throughout Ireland have been forced to close. The small pubs in rural communities cannot soak up excise increases across a wide product mix, like a supermarket can.\"
In the case of small pub operators they have no recourse but to pass the costs on to consumers. Cribben added that Ireland\'s high alcohol prices is also having a detrimental effect on tourism, as visitors flock to Northern Ireland, where hospitality is more affordable.
He said that Ireland is the most expensive country in Europe to buy alcohol, which should be a chief concerns to the country, \"second only to the weather\".
\"There has been rise in cross-border activity as a result of excise increases, causing pubs, independent off-licences and the exchequer to lose out,\" Cribben said.
\"On average, there is a 35% price difference between the Republic and Northern Ireland across all categories of alcohol, with Revenue Commissioner Figures showing that a bottle of Irish whiskey is €5.50 cheaper in the north.\"