Kintyre distilleries welcome budget’s spirits duty freeze
One of Kintyre’s oldest distilleries and one of its newest have welcomed the decision to continue the freeze on spirits duty, writes Hannah O’Hanlon. In Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s autumn budget, the duty rate on spirits remains £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol. Management at Glen Scotia Distillery, a producer of single malt Scotch whisky, founded in 1832, and Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, a sustainable gin producer which officially opened in August this year, have praised the decision. Glen Scotia manager Iain McAlister said: ‘I think this is the correct decision, after all the spirits industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe and this freeze will only help to boost further investment and expansion of one of the United Kingdom’s most successful exports. ‘For the chancellor to have the foresight and avoid any additional tax hikes is vital for hard pressed rural economies, where the whisky industry is such a big part of local life.’ Niall Macalister Hall, director of Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, said: ‘We’re delighted duty has been frozen. For a small producer in what is only our second year of production, any price rise would have had to be passed to the consumer. ‘In a very competitive market such as gin, where new producers are arriving on the scene on an almost daily basis, this could have impacted on our competitiveness and driven down sales. ‘If you look at the duty that is paid on a bottle of 70cl Kintyre Gin, then it already equates to £8.65, which is a considerable percentage of the retail price.’ While taxes on spirits, beer and cider have all been frozen, wine duty is set to rise by 3.1 per cent.