By Ian Neubauer

The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) and the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) traded blows this week over new RTD sales data that allegedly contradicts data published by the industry group last week.

The ADF cited AC Nielsen data that shows RTD sales have plummeted while straight spirit sales have increased only marginally since the introduction of the RTD tax hike in April. It said this proves the RTD tax hike is working and very little substitution is taking place.

“These results contrast to hysterical claims by spirits producers, representatives and retailers last week that spirits sales had soared,” said ADF spokesperson, Geoff Munro.

He also suggested DSICA had intentionally ignored the new data. 

“Strangely, the Nielsen figures were available to DSICA and all its members,” he said. “If DSICA was not aware of the data, it could be accused of negligence and failing to represent its membership properly. That would be odd. It is more likely the spirits merchants and producers released their flawed statistics to grab the spotlight and try to reduce the impact of the authoritative Nielsen data.”

DSICA spokesperson, Stephen Riden, said his organisation has not yet seen the data and therefore could not comment on it. The Liquor Merchants Association of Australia (LMAA), which produced DSICA’s data, said it does not normally comment on such matters.

The ADF nevertheless maintained its position, calling for DSICA to be disqualified from the public sphere.

“The desperation of the spirits industry shows how important to their revenue [are] the youth-friendly RTDs, but it also shows they are not reliable sources of information and therefore have no place in alcohol policy making,” Munro said. 

Riden warned Munro about using statistics to attack the liquor industry.

“He should be very wary of using data supplied by third parties in order to attack one part of the alcohol industry,” he said. “[And] it is arrogant to call for silencing a legitimate voice in the debate.”

And in breaking news, an AC Nielson spokesperson said today (August 8) the figures cited by the ADF contain innacuracies.

"Not sure where the figures came from but it contains inaccuracies. I’ll give Geoff… a call to discuss," the spokesperson said.
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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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