On this day in May 1909 the News Letter reported that “a very largely attended” meeting of distillers, merchants and allied traders connected with the whisky trade in Ulster had meet in Belfast.
Mr H L Garrett of Dunville & Co Ltd occupied the chair for the duration of the meeting.
The meeting had been convened, said Mr Garrett, to allow those in the industry to voice their anger at the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s, David Lloyd George, recent budget which had “in a grossly unfair manner differentiated between the two main divisions of the liquor trade”.
A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting with the key resolution declaring as follows: “That this meeting of the distillers, whisky merchants and allied traders of the North of Ireland emphatically protests against the increase of the duty on Irish whisky to 14s 9d a proof gallon and the increased duties both wholesale and retail on the grounds that – (a) Ireland is already overtaxed; (b) many manufacturing and other interests, including agriculture which are so dependent on the distilling industry will be seriously affected by the anticipated decrease in consumption and consequent lessened distillation of Irish whisky; (c) it has already been admitted by previous Chancellors of both parties that the whisky trade is taxed to its full capacity; (d) it will impose on Irish whisky an unfair burden as compared with both British-brewed and foreign beers and wines.”
The resolution concluded: “We therefore confidently ask for a reconsideration of this inequitable an anomalous position and call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to rescind the increase.”