Out with the Old, in with the Old

Driving to work this morning I noticed wryly that a lot of the election posters had been replaced by those for a travelling circus. And so here we are 3 days after a general election in a total state of flux. For whatever the reason, tribal loyalty, dissatisfaction with the bitter medicine we’ve been served for the preceding number of years, the increasing distance of the legislature from the electorate and so forth, uncertainty reigns.

This is not good and in particular this is not good for the burgeoning micro-alcohol sector. The previous administration, whatever its faults, was formulating sensible policy to try and bring the alcohol sector into the modern era.

Leo Varadkar was sponsoring the Health Bill that would have ensured minimum unit pricing on alcohol. Something that would have supported the micro-breweries/cideries/distilleries, breathed life into the diminished restaurant and pub sector and be far more effective than simply raising duty which manifestly has proven not to reduce abusive alcohol consumption.

The Ministry for Justice & Equality was preparing a Sale of Alcohol Bill which amongst other things would have updated the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2000 to enable holders of a restaurant licence to sell cider (as they can beer already). Moreover this Bill was intended to “repeal the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011, as well as the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and replace them with streamlined and updated provisions”.

Even those with a more cynical view of the alcohol industry will recognise that updating policy drafted in the 19th Century would be beneficial.

But where has all this initiative gone now? To whom should a small micro-brewery/distillery/cidery address themselves? And when that individual or ministry is identified how much time will be spent in re-submitting all the preceding data and arguments?

Currently it’s beyond my line of site and watching the posturing underway by the elected officials it doesn’t seem like the dark veil of uncertainty is going to clear any time soon! Good luck with the navigation!