By Annette Shailer
A media focus on Diageo’s new ‘malternative’ Smirnoff Platinum has again highlighted the consequences of the RTD tax excise, with the new product hitting bottleshops this month.
With a recommended retail price of $16 per four-pack, Smirnoff Platinum contrasts against other spirit-based RTDs, which have experienced major price hikes since the Federal Government’s 70 per cent tax increase was introduced last April.
Diageo’s Smirnoff Ice Double Black, for example, is now taxed at $1.45 per bottle, while beer-based products or ‘malternatives’ are taxed at less than half of that, meaning each bottle of Smirnoff Platinum carries 65c tax.
A spokesperson for Diageo said the Federal Government’s tax excise on RTDs had established an inequitable tax regime for alcohol beverages and that their move was in response to the present market environment.
“The current tax structure appears to have no underpinning logic to it and ignores the reality that alcohol is alcohol,” the spokesperson said.
“Instead, it differentiates between types of alcohol. Diageo has consistently supported the introduction of a volumetric tax system, based on the amount of alcohol in the product, not its type.”
Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) spokesperson Stephen Riden said that the introduction of malternatives into the Australian industry highlights the need for a fairer taxation system for alcohol.
“It is just one example of the consequences of the tax increase introduced last April as we didn’t have these products in Australia before then,” Riden said.
Smirnoff Platinum joins the likes of Independent Distillers’ ‘Bolt’ – another malternative introduced last September.
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