BUSINESS

Taxes, smuggling dent consumption of alcoholic drinks

Sales of alcoholic drinks dropped 32 percent in the two years between June 2009 and June 2011, largely because of the successive increases in taxes, industry leaders estimate.

In northern Greece, the fall has been around 50 percent because of abundant imports from neighboring Bulgaria. The loss of customs revenue from the growth of smuggling is estimated at around 100 million euros.

The cumulative 87 percent hike in the special consumption tax on alcoholic spirits in the last two years has brought it to 7.14 euros per bottle -- while other alcoholic drinks, such beer and wine, are taxed much more lightly, Tasos Evangelou, head of Diageo Hellas

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