TOURISTS coming to Donegal will soon be able to have a tipple after touring local breweries and distilleries, the county’s TD and Government Minister Joe McHugh has said.
The Government has decided to progress the Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Bill 2016, by approving the drafting of a series of amendments to the Private Members Bill.
“Under current legislation visitors to the local Kinnegar Craft Brewery sites in Rathmullan and Letterkenny couldn’t have a drink there,” said Minister McHugh.
“The new laws will allow the brewery and the new Sliabh Liag distillery to operate tours and sell alcohol. This will help create extra employment and add a new destination for tourists to the county.
“The Bill provides for the automatic grant by the Revenue Commissioners of a licence authorising the sale of intoxicating liquor produced on the premises to visitors at craft breweries and distilleries. Such sales can only take place between 10am. and 6pm daily.”
Minister McHugh said the Government amendments will ensure that the rules that normally apply to the grant of retail licences will apply to licences granted under the Bill.
This will mean that operators of craft breweries and distilleries will have to apply to the court for a certificate before a licence can be granted by the Revenue Commissioners.
The licence will be subject to annual renewal. The amendments will confine the sale of intoxicating liquor to visitors who have participated in and completed a tour of the premises concerned.
“The Government is committed to supporting local development and fully exploiting the job-creation potential of local tourism initiatives,” said McHugh.
“Allowing visitors who have completed a Craft Brewery or Distillery tour to purchase alcohol product on the premises will add to the visitor experience.”
The amendments will confine the sale of intoxicating liquor to visitors who have participated in and completed a guided tour whereas the Bill as published would allow for the sale of intoxicating liquor produced on the premises to visitors who had not participated in a tour of the premises.
The country’s biggest tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse, pulls in 1.5 million visitors every year.