Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Off-Licence hours

As and from tomorrow, off-licences have to close at the earlier hour of 10pm every night. This is part of the new legislation curbing the sales of booze in an attempt to get young people to stop binge drinking and beating each other up. It is hard to see how this is going to make any difference whatsoever, but I'm sure O'Brien's employees all over Dublin will be delighted. It is, however, another example of the government doing something, gowever meaningless, purely in order to be seen to do something to deal with a problem which has been incorrectly diagnosed. It is not the availability of alcohol that drives people to drink themselves out of control. It is a much more complex question involving culture (or lack thereof), money, self-respect, etc etc etc.

My worry, and I have said it before, is that there is a growing movement against drink in all its forms, which I fear our increasingly nanny state will satisfy by further inhibiting our ability to enjoy a pint or a glass of wine. We are heading for duty increases in the coming budget, make no mistake. No doubt, it will be couched in terms such as "for health reasons", "public order" and a load of other blather, but the real point is to squeeze yet more money out out hard pressed pockets.

As a wine importer, I already feel like a tax collector surrounded by bottles. The amount of duty and VAT we hand over every month is obscene! I don't want to hand over any more and meanwhile our customers are going to France to buy a load of crap.....

3 comments:

Irish Wine Contemplations said...

Gabriel,

A good post, especially the point about feeling like a tax collector. I'm regularly shocked by the difference in price between wines in France vs Ireland (mostly about 2x in Ireland), but by the time you factor in tax/duty/shipping etc. it makes sense. The current regime is quite the incentive to go on weeklong jaunts over to the continent to stock up for the year though.

Do you feel that the opening hours will affect you greatly? I normally do most of my wine shopping in the early evening or in the afternoon on the weekends. Also, a lot of wine shops that I frequent tend to only operate between ~12-7 anyway.

Cheers,
Will

Anonymous said...

Gabriel,

you mention how your clients are going off to France to buy Crap...which I think is a little unfair.

Do you realise how depressing it is to see many of the wines available in independent Irish wine shops for sometimes a third of the price, e.g. Quinta da Cabriz from Portugal is 2.99 locally and up to a tenner here. Monte Da Peceguinha is 8.99 in Portugal and up to 20 euro here...at those prices is it any wonder that those who have the time would go to the continent to fill their car boots up?

Last year I filled my boot with fantastic wines from various appelations in the Languedoc which are either unavailable or twice the price here in Ireland.

I understand that wine sellers such as yourself have no control over the crazy amounts of tax and duty we consumers pay in Ireland for our wine but I'm afraid it galls me to pay a tenner for a basic bottle of wine that costs 3 euro in France etc.

Gabriel Cooney said...

Thanks Will, no the opening hours won't affect me, we operate between 11am and 8pm in any case. Like you, most civilised people have their wine bought by then anyway - we even find after 7 it quietens down.