Ireland: Some alcohol to more than double in price as new minimum pricing laws kick in

Some alcohol in Irish supermarkets will more than double in price as new minimum pricing laws kick in from January 4 in the Republic, the Belfast Telegraph reported on January 3.

Ireland: Some alcohol to more than double in price
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Source:  E-Malt News

All alcohol will have a minimum price based on the number of grams of alcohol, with one gram costing a minimum of 10c (8.5p).

It means some brands of spirits will cost several euro extra, while slabs of beer sold at promotional prices of around €20 (£16.80) will double in price.

While opponents say it will drive consumers to Northern Ireland to buy alcohol, others says the measures will effect much-needed change in society’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

In a price survey carried out over the last week of all major Irish supermarkets, the Irish Independent found major increases loom when minimum pricing is applied.

The legislation, introduced in May last year, aims to reduce consumption by heavy drinkers by making strong drink less affordable and therefore reduce alcohol-related harm.

While the new system will not affect the price of premium alcohol, cheaper brand prices and promotional prices will rocket.

This has led to accusations that the laws unfairly target people on lower incomes.

The price of a 500ml beer (4.3% strength) will be set at a minimum of €1.70 (£1.43), and a bottle of wine (750ml, 12.5%), will cost at least €7.40 (£6.22). A 700ml bottle of spirits with 40% alcohol will cost a minimum of €22.09 (£18.56).

Some items which were on promotional sale for Christmas are set to more than double. A Supervalu offer of a 24 pack of Budweiser 500ml cans will see an increase from €18 (£15.12) to a minimum of €40.71 (£34.20). That is equal to a rise from 75c (63p) per can to €1.70 (£1.43).

Last week a 700ml bottle of Smirnoff vodka (37.5pc) or Gordon’s Dry Gin in Lidl was priced at €15 (£12.60) in Lidl; these will be sold for at least €20.71 (£17.40) from tomorrow.

The price of Gordon’s in Northern Ireland is currently £12.99.

Eunan McKinney, head of advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland, described the measure as a historic day for Ireland.

“It sets a floor price for alcohol beneath which it cannot be sold. That will drive that really cheap, strong, affordable alcohol out of the market,” Mr McKinney said.

A statement from Lidl said:

“Minimum unit pricing will have an impact on the price of some products. Despite this, we remain confident we will maintain our position as the best value destination for high quality beer, wine and spirits in the country.”

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