RTD manufacturers have strenuously denied media reports they are preparing to flood the market with ‘super-strength’ wine-based RTDs to exploit a loophole in the recent 70 per cent tax hike.
News Ltd published reports in several newspapers citing anonymous sources who said wine-based RTDs with an alcohol content in excess of 8 per cent would hit shelves in weeks, with Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon warning manufacturers against the move.
The ABC reported Distilled Council Spirits of Australia (DSICA) spokesperson, Stephen Riden, as saying manufacturers could introduce wino-pops to realise cost advantages because only sprit-based RTDs were subject to the new 70 per cent tax hike.
However, Riden told TheShout no DSICA member is investigating these products or has any plans to introduce them.
“They are not going to go there because they see themselves as distillers,” he said. “And the point is we did not have any of these problems when the premix excise rate was similar to the rate for wine and beer. So any growth in wino-pops would be another unintended consequence of the government’s tax hike.”
Other industry members voiced similar sentiments.
“We said on the record at the Senate Inquiry into RTDs that we would not,” said Independent Distillers spokesperson, Claire Kimball.
Spokespeople for Pernod Ricard and Lion Nathan also confirmed their respective companies had no plans to introduce wine-based RTDs, while a spokesperson for Foster’s implied the brewer would never entertain such an underhanded manoeuvre.
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