News and Press

Newly elected Chairperson of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland to prioritise employment protection and industry promotion

Posted on 04 July 2018
  • Irish Distillers’ Rosemary Garth to head DIGI, assuming role from HEINEKEN Ireland’s Maggie Timoney as chair of the group
  • DIGI, the representative group for Ireland’s drinks and hospitality industry, last week launched its Support Your Local campaign which seeks to highlight the importance of the drinks and hospitality industry to Ireland
  • New Chair: calls on government to “deliver policy measures which are favourable and which support the growth of the drinks industry”

Irish Distillers’ Communications and Corporate Affairs Director, Rosemary Garth is to become the new head of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), following an official meeting of the group this week.

Ms. Garth assumes the role from outgoing Chairperson, Ms. Maggie Timoney of HEINEKEN Ireland, who is relocating to the US to take up a new role as Chief Executive Officer, Heineken USA.

DIGI is the representative group for the wider drinks and hospitality industry in Ireland whose membership spans manufacturers, distributors and the retail sectors, including Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland; Licenced Vintners Association; Vintners Federation of Ireland; Restaurants Association of Ireland; Irish Hotels Federation and the National Off-Licence Association.

Last week, DIGI launched its Support Your Local campaign which seeks to educate people about the broad and diversified financial and social contribution that the drinks industry makes to Ireland, while seeking to ensure its growth and development potential is promoted and protected.

The drinks industry directly employs 92,000 people while the hospitality sector as a whole supports almost 210,000 jobs throughout Ireland, purchasing €1.1bn worth of Irish inputs annually and exporting €1.25 billion worth of produce every year.

The sector, including distillers, brewers, cider producers, pubs, restaurants, hotels and off-licences are supporting and growing economic activity in Ireland, spread widely across the country, according to a recent report - ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Drinks Industry’ – commissioned by DIGI and authored by DCU Economist Anthony Foley.

The report found that the Irish drinks industry is Ireland’s fastest-growing manufacturing industry in terms of number of enterprises. For example, in 2013, there were just four working whiskey distilleries in Ireland and by 2017 there were 18, with plans for another 16.

Many distilleries and breweries are developing visitor centre facilities, increasing product awareness among local and international consumers, and opening up additional revenue streams. The Irish whiskey industry envisages Ireland becoming the global leader in whiskey tourism by 2030, overtaking Scotland.

Commenting today, Rosemary Garth, newly appointed Chair of DIGI and Communications and Corporate Affairs Director at Irish Distillers said:

“I look forward to taking up this position at such an important and exciting time for the industry. The drinks and hospitality sector continues to contribute significantly to Ireland. The industry is among the largest employers in the country and much of this employment is based in rural towns and villages. 

“The recent DIGI report ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Drinks Industry’ clearly demonstrates how the industry is supporting balanced regional development through a network of rural drinks businesses across the country. We need to ensure the sector and these jobs are protected and further development in the industry is encouraged.

“Central to this is delivering policy measures which are favourable and which support growth. Through our Support Your Local campaign, DIGI is seeking a reduction in Ireland’s high excise tax rate. 

“Ireland currently has the second highest overall excise tax in the EU, behind only Finland. We have the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits. This is an anti-competitive tax on an industry that is creating new businesses, that is innovating and adding and maintaining jobs in the rural economy.”

About DIGI

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland is the umbrella organisation for the wider drinks and hospitality industry in Ireland.   DIGI’s membership spans manufacturers, distributors and the retail sectors (both the on-trade – pubs, hotels, restaurants – and the off-licence sector). Members include: Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI); Licenced Vintners Association (LVA); Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI); Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI); Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA). The Drinks Industry employs 92,000 people while the hospitality sector as a whole supports almost 210,000 jobs throughout Ireland, purchasing €1.1bn worth of Irish inputs annually and exporting €1.25 billion worth of produce every year.

About Irish Distillers

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Led by Jameson, our brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey. Jameson is the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey, experiencing 28 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 6.5m cases in 2017. Our brands are exported to 130+ markets, with over 71 of those experiencing double- or triple-digit growth.

Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distilleries Company. In 1988 Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network. Since 2012, we have invested over €250m to double our production and bottling capacity to meet global demand for our products. We employ over 600 people across our operations in Cork and Dublin.

 
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland
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Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

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