Monday, March 21, 2011

Response on behalf of Eamon Gilmore,An Tanaiste and Labour Party Leader

March 16, 2011
Dear Ms Jones,

Thank you for your recent correspondence to Eamon Gilmore TD, Leader of the Labour Party and your congratulations and good wishes.  Eamon has asked me to reply on his behalf.
As you will know since the election we have agreed to form a Government with Fine Gael.

That Government is based on an agreed programme that we hope will bring the country great benefit.  I enclose a copy of that programme for your information which deals with some of the issuesyou raise.  We hope that Labour does make a difference for Ireland. That is what being in Government is all about.  Together we will make Ireland the best place for all and look forward to working with you.
Please keep in touch.
Yours sincerely,
Dermot Lacey

Response Fine Gael TD Tom Barry, Cork

March 16th, 2011
Dear Ms. Jones,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your congratulations and to assure
you that I look forward to working with you and your organisation in the coming months
and years.
If I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Yours sincerely,
Deputy Tom Barry

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Response Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil

14th March 2011
Dear Ms Jones,
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 2nd March 2011 and I appreciate your kind
words of congratulations.
I have noted the points you have outlined.
Yours sincerely,
Uachtaran Fianna Fail

Micheál Martin

Response Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy, Cork

11th March 2011
Dear Evelyn,

Many thanks for your letter dated 8th March 2011 and your kind wishes which I can assure you are very much appreciated.I have taken on board your points with regards to the increase in excise duty on wine.
I will look into this matter and speak with my colleagues regarding same.
I will revert to you shortly when I have information for you.
Kind regards,
Dara Murphy TD

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Response Independent TD Catherine Murphy

14 March 2011
Dear Ms. Jones,
On behalf of Deputy Catherine Murphy, T.D., I wish to acknowledge receipt of your recent
letter, congratulating her on securing a seat in Dail Eireann in the recent General Election.
Deputy Murphy has asked me to say that she has noted the contents of your correspondence,
and thanks you for taking the time to write to her.
Yours sincerely
Sheila Clifford
Secretarial Assistant

Response Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin

11 March 2011

Dear Evelyn
Thank you for your letter of congratulations and good wishes on my election
to Dail Eireann. I am anxious to highlight a number of issues.

I will study the documentation that you sent me and the points raised in your
letter.  I will keep these issues on my files and look forward to meeting you either
locally or in Leinster House when the opportunity arises.

Yours sincerely
Tony McLoughlin TD

Monday, March 14, 2011

Response Independent TD Michael Lowry

9th of March, 2011

Dear Evelyn,
I refer to your letter to my office, which I received this morning. Firstly let
me thank you for taking the time to write to my office to express your
Let me assure you that I will bring these most serious concerns to the
attention of the relevant authorities.

Yours sincerely,

Thursday, March 10, 2011


See previous post for context

The Beer Nut said...
It is impossible to beat Tesco at their own game. Get out of the race and concentrate on offering things that lumbering giant Tesco will never be able to do: selection and customer service. You will always have to charge more than Tesco for any given product, so either let them have it and use the free shelf-space for something that will bring customers in, or else justify your premium by giving customers a better experience than they get in the supermarket. You have an agility to do that, Tesco does not. And drop the public health policy bit. Alcohol consumption in Ireland has been decreasing steadily since 2001. The abolition of the Groceries Order had no effect on it. It did not make things worse. By calling for new alcohol legislation on health grounds you're agreeing with those who want to severely reduce access to alcohol altogether: the same ones who forced you to close your doors at 10pm. The health argument is not a friend of your business.
NoffLA said...
Agree and thanks for your input. It is difficult for Independent off licences in many parts of the country to compete against multiples selling main stream branded products below cost. Often this is what their customers want to purchase.Sales of niche wines and micro brewery beers just wont pay the overheads and neither will selling below cost.Meanwhile alcohol is being used by the multiples to drive other types of sales in order to gain market share and this is very disheartning.
The Beer Nut said...
I understand. But every business needs to adapt to the market, and when competing on price is not an option (and it never will be with Tesco, however the law is changed) you need to find something else. It doesn't have to niche wines or micro brewery beers or ultra-premium whiskeys. How about glassware? Flowers? Chocolates? Cigars? Coffee? I've seen all of these in Irish off licences. One even does cheese. The best off licences I know are the ones who engage with their customers. They hold tasting events and they promote themselves and their stock, vigorously, through the social media. They build a community of customers (like me) who keep coming back and spending money, and buying things that perhaps we hadn't thought of buying when we went in. Some of them do home delivery too. Off licences that are just sitting there passively waiting for the customer to come in and buy stuff should not be surprised that their customer is getting it in Tesco with the milk.
WoW Girls said...
Beer Nut you are spot on with your comments. Keep them coming. Can you elaborate a bit on the benefits of social media as a sales tool for the unconverted ...allowing for those around the country with no broadband coverage!
The Beer Nut said...
Officially (and I know IrelandOffline refute this) 99% of Ireland has broadband coverage. Forfás figures from end 2009 have broadband in 54% of Irish households, a bit lower than the EU average, but not by much. My point is that for a business to decide "ah, sure none of my customers use Facebook or Twitter" is a huge mistake. 50% of Irish people are on Facebook. 50%! Why you wouldn't be putting a display in a free virtual shop window like that is beyond me. If you don't know how, then that's where, I think, maybe you should ask your representative organisation to arrange help for you. Back in the real world there are outlets like the local paper and your own front window to advertise events, tastings, new stock, limited editions and other stuff that will help get people through your door. Make these regular and constantly changing, and you're more likely to get people into the habit of visiting your shop. Yes, it's all effort, and hassle, and might even cost a bit of money. But I think at this stage it's an investment as necessary for survival as a fridge or a credit card machine.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



If indeed there is an appetite to deal with below cost selling then perhaps price regulation is the way forward. 

I think we used to have it for fuel (in terms of a maximum retail price) and I’m pretty sure it still exists for tobacco (in terms of minimum retail price).

Government sets a price below which a product cannot be sold on health grounds – end of?

Minimum/pricing will not really  work I am afraid although it could be a something at the very lower end of the market maybe.

It is the below cost selling of major brands by the multiples, in order to attract shoppers in, that is the problem .

So minimum  pricing... lets say wine : € 5 80 cent .... spirits: € 15 ..this will not be any help to us ?  and I don't see them going any higher than this as there are lesser known brands that sell at these prices and are not below cost.
What do you think?

Appreciate your argument and agree completely – if one were seeking to prevent below cost retailing it wouldn’t be practical to simply have a generic minimum retail price for say a can of beer or a bottle of wine – one would require individual prices to be set for all products and sizes offered and that would be costly and difficult to maintain and verify.

I’m actually not convinced that there’s an appetite for change but if there were it seems that the achievable goal might be simpler, easier solution around minimum pricing based on alcoholic content and to wrap it around public health.   

E.g. as a matter of public health policy it isn't desirable that a standard (say 500ml) measure/strength of beer/cider/perry be made available for consumption at less than €… (regardless of cost), that a standard (say 70cl) measure of wine could not be made available for consumption at less than €…

Yes agree, but does that not still leaves us with the same problem as I don't believe the Government will go much above those prices I mentioned, no matter what the method of calculation.The big brands will still be able to be discounted either way , driving customers out of our shops and into the mults.


All ideas welcome! Email or post a comment here. 


The problem with trying to end below cost selling is coming up with an  mechanism that will actually work.

 A mechanism banning sales below total duty and vat will not work as on a €7 euro btl of wine this only comes to €3.20.

 A mechanism banning sales below  invoice price will just mean that the large multinational supermarkets can merely invoice the Irish division at a low price to ensure that they are not breaking the law by selling below cost. 

Alcohol is used as a driver of footfall to increase the multiples market share of Grocery.
Supermarkets  are competing against each other, using alcohol ,to increase their individual share of this market

Tesco plc  is a global grocery and general merchandising retailer headquartered in Great Britain . It is the fourth-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues  and the second-largest measured by profits (after Wal-Mart). It has stores in 14 countries across Asia,Europe and North America  and is the grocery market leader in the UK (where it has a market share of around 30%), the Republic of Ireland,Malaysia and Thailand

If we could find a solution that is actually legal under E.U. law there is an appetite to deal with the matter.
Reward offered! 


Ms Evelyn Jones
National Off-Licence Association

7 March 2011

Dear Evelyn

Thank you for your correspondence to my Constituency Office in respect of the Off-Licence
sector. I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to contact me.
I have taken note of the points raised in your message and I will discuss them with the
relevant Fine Gael Spokespersons in the future. Once again, thank you for taking the
time to contact me.
Very best wishes,
Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

THE 100 DAYS WAR... you can stop wine prices from increasing by 20%

There will be an emergency budget within 100 days, possibly sooner, and a proposed wine duty increase is highly wine duty is seen as easy middle class revenue.

Write to your local candidates ...see the previous post for content.



I would like to congratulate you on your recent election to the 31st Dáil Éireann.  As the various parties get ready to form a coalition, I would like to draw your attention to the following commitments in the Fine Gael and The Labour Party General Election manifestos.

  • A “€1 increase in excise duty on a bottle of wine by 2014” (Fine Gael).
  • A “modest increase in excise on wine” (Labour)

Any increase on wine will further impact on our sector that is already facing major challenges as a result of the economic downturn and deep recession, but it will also cost jobs, revenue to the State, and impact negatively on Irish tourism.

2,600 jobs have been lost in the independent off-licence sector in the last three years, with average turnover down between 25-50% as a consequence of the economic downturn, cross-border shopping and the introduction of earlier closing times.

·         A €1 excise increase will produce a 20% increase in the average selling price of wine through excise and VAT alone.

The €1 excise increase is estimated to result in €60m additional revenue - this is based on an assumption that there will be no decline in sales. Following the October 2008 wine excise increase the wine market fell by 10%.
This excise increase also coincided with a major increase in cross-border shopping of which the price differential between alcohol North and South was a major contributory factor.
As a consequence, the Government cut excise duty in December 2009 which saw a 15% increase in the wine market.  The majority of this increase comes from repatriation of business from across the border.  Nielsen data shows that wine volumes in Northern Ireland dropped by 10% in 2010 and Kantar Worldpanel Data further shows that cross-border shopping overall has stabilised.
Recent experience suggests that a €1 excise hike will simply encourage consumers to revert to purchasing wine and other products in Northern Ireland where prices will be significantly cheaper.  On this basis, it would be reasonable to assume that an excise increase will result in a 10% to 15% drop in in-state purchases.
·         A 15% drop in sales would neutralise any revenue gained by the State from the excise increase through lost excise and VAT revenues - the excise cost would be about €45m and VAT cost would be €15m.

The market decline will lead to further redundancies and unemployment throughout the industry leading to further unemployment.
Each job lost in the sector has a direct exchequer cost of €20,000
While we fully understand the difficult choices that face the incoming Government at this time, we believe that any increase in excise on wine will have a detrimental impact on consumer confidence, jobs, and tourism and will reverse much of the repatriation of cross-border revenue achieved over the last 12 months. 

We would greatly appreciate your help in this matter.

Yours sincerely,


Enda Kenny, T.O.
Constituency Office,
Tucker Street,
Castlebar, Co Mayo.
Tel: 0949025600
Fax: 0949026554
E-mail: enda.kenny(a)

22nd February, 2011


Dear Evelyn
Thank you very much for your recent correspondence which I
received. Enda is currently on the campaign trail but I will bring
your letter to his attention on his return to the office.
Thanks again for taking the time to write to me.
In can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact
Very best wishes,
Yours sincerely,