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The crisis has turned Greeks into abstainers

13 November 2014 / 17:11:46  GRReporter
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The economic recession in Greece has significantly reduced the consumption of alcoholic drinks, especially with regard to their consumption at restaurants, as reported by the Greek newspaper "Kathimerini".

The successive increases in taxes and in the excise duty that has increased by 125% since 2009 and now amounts to 25.50 euro per litre of alcohol are the main reasons for the decline in consumption, according to a study of company Infobank Hellastat. It is noteworthy that the excise duty on alcoholic drinks manufactured in Greece is almost half that of the excise duty imposed on imported spirits, namely around 12.75 euro per litre.

Based on market estimates, the total consumption of alcoholic drinks in 2013 dropped below 120,000 hectolitres. In 2008, it reached 226,000 hectolitres. Therefore, the drop is about 45% from the pre-crisis period.

However, the decrease in 2013 was much lower compared to previous years, the largest decline being recorded in the consumption of whiskey (30% of the total reduction) and ouzo.

The consumption of locally produced drinks followed the decline in imported ones. In 2013, the amount of Greek alcoholic drinks consumed was 57,371 hectolitres, which is 7.1% lower compared to 2012. Last year ouzo consumption was 33,283 hectolitres, recording a decline of 4.5%. However, the decline following the record low value of 27% in 2012 had slowed down.

On the other hand, the activity of Greek distilleries showed stabilization in 2013. The total amount of alcohol increased by 1% and reached 167,860 hectolitres due to exports. This shows that the companies in the sector, especially ouzo producers, were able to protect themselves from the decline in domestic consumption at the expense of demand abroad.

The main factors that influenced the behaviour of Greek consumers were the reduced incomes and high prices of alcoholic drinks. This is also evident from the change in the preferences for more expensive imported alcoholic drinks to cheaper ones, like beer and wine, as well as to Greek drinks such as ouzo and tsipouro. Distilleries and wholesale businesses did not fully benefit from this change, as Greek consumers had turned mostly to cheaper draft drinks.
In parallel, the increase in taxes caused an increase in the smuggling and counterfeiting of alcohol, leading to unfair competition and losses to the treasury. The illegal practices were rife mainly in the production of tsipouro, because the outdated legislation allows thousands of small producers to distil alcohol without controls.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesAlcoholConsumptionDistilleriesExcise dutyImported alcoholic drinksSmall producers
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