Regular readers, if they exist, will know that I am no great fan of the current administration, so I feel duty-bound to give credit where it is due and welcome the reduction in duty on alcohol last Wednesday. From wine's perspective, it is a reversal of last year's disastrous increase, so it is back to square one. For beer and spirits, the change is more substantial.
Will it make any difference?
The amounts involved are not huge, but it is a step in the right direction and it might make people think twice, or at least look at the prices in the south before the 60 mile, 4 hour drive to Newry. From that point of view, it is a good thing.
We have reduced all our prices in the shop, even though all the stock we have (and it is a lot) was bought pre-budget at the higher excise rates. Nevertheless, it is important to be seen to pass on the change and we feel it is worthwhile to reduce prices now rather than later.
In general, I feel it is going to be a busy Christmas in the shop, despite the collapse in corporate business. 2009 has been pretty tough for everyone and I get the feeling that those left standing might feel like treating themselves a little. There's nothing like blind optimism to get you through the worst recession in living memory!