AGENDA

2012 Spirits summit: Spirit of growth.

“A spirit of tradition, growth and responsibility”, the last 29th November spiritsEUROPE the European association representing the 31 national associations and the interest of the spirits sector held hits annual summit.

The European spirits sector is good for Europe. Approximately 1 million jobs in Europe can be attributed to the production and sale of spirit drinks and the sector contributes €32 billion to European exchequers, and export more than any other agri-food product. There are significant spin-offs for the agricultural sector,  the bottling and packaging industry , the tourism hospitality sectors, media and marketing. The sector is deeply rooted in Europe, many of the products derive their market success from the fact that the products come from specific, named European regions. One thing is quite sure. It is not a sector that will ‘delocalise’ its production or jobs out of Europe. Like others, the spirits industry currently faces challenging economic conditions in Europe, with consumer demand depressed by the crisis and austerity measures imposed, and member States under increasing pressure to raise revenues through higher taxation.

EU largest exporter of spirits

EU is the largest exporter of spirits in the world with €8.5 billion of spirit drinks, leading to a positive trade balance of over €7 billion. 2011 was an exceptional year. The well-being of the sector, and the wealth it generates in Europe, are dependent on open trade with key markets around the world.

Total EU spirits exports hit records of €8.5 billion. While the US remains our largest export market by far (over €2 billion), the growth of the sector depends on the economic vitality of emerging markets, driving an ever-increasing demand for quality branded.

Social responsabilities

While the vast majority of the European population drinks sensibly and moderately, a minority does not, causing harm to themselves, their families and society at large. spiritsEUROPE take his responsibilities seriously. The European association works with a range of stakeholders to address these problems taking in account actions to target harm and actively promote responsible marketing by his industry, and responsible drinking.

The consumption of beverages containing alcohol is culturally very different across Member States. The same is true for drinking patterns, and subsequently for alcohol-related harm. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ to tackle alcohol related harm in Europe. Nearly all Nordic countries have been applying high taxes, retail monopolies and strict marketing restrictions for many years, compared to other European countries.

EU strategy

Yet, according to “Alcohol in the European Union”, a 2012 joint study from EU/WHO Europe, that region shows a hazardous drinking score more than double that of southern Europe where less restrictive policies are prevalent. Given that these restrictive approaches have been in place for decades, it calls into question the correlation between the use of population-based control measures and changes in hazardous consumption. In 2006, the Commission adopted a “Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm”. Indicators show that the spirit sector is on the right track and strongly supports the extension of the strategy, effective in tackling alcohol misuse, building on voluntary actions and self-regulation.

During the event we had the nice opportunity to interview with Gavin Hewitt President of spiritsEUROPE.

Henry Borzi

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