The Government’s controversial minimum unit alcohol pricing system, which kicked in on Tuesday, has ended promotional deals and cheap drinks with some slabs of beer almost doubling in price
Some alcohol has more than doubled in price at Irish shops and supermarkets as a controversial minimum cost law takes effect.
The Government’s minimum unit alcohol pricing system, which kicked in on Tuesday, January 4, means alcohol can’t be sold for less than €1 a unit.
The rule has ended promotional deals and cheap drinks, with the cheapest can of beer now €1.70, while a typical bottle of wine costs no less than €7.40 and a bottle of spirits is at least €20.70.
It’s part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act aimed at reducing harms caused by booze.
Off licences have warned of a huge hit to trade, with one shop owner in Cork saying: “It goes against everything every retailer tries to avoid – increasing prices.”
Sam’s Gala Dunmanway posted on Facebook that some slabs of beer will almost double in price.
“While there’s very little change across the wines and spirits, the increase in the price of slabs of beer is astronomical with some going from €25 to €45.45 and from €29 to €47.34” the shop warned.
A calculated formula, of 10 cent per gram of alcohol, sets the price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and targets drinks that are cheap relative to their strength.The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportionate to the alcohol content.
The formula means a pint of lager at 4.3%, such as Carlsberg, Budweiser or Heineken, costs at least €1.93 while a 500ml can of the same lager costs a minimum of €1.70.
This means a slab of 24 cans of beer costs at least €40.80.
A pint of stout at 4.2%, such as Guinness or Beamish, now costs at least €1.88 while a 500ml can of the same stout costs at least €1.66.
A 700ml bottle of 49% gin, such as Tanqueray Dry Gin, must cost €27.06 while a 700ml bottle of 40% vodka now sets you back €22.09.
A typical bottle of wine costs no less than €7.40.
Scotland was the first country in Europe to introduce it in 2018 followed by Wales in 2020.
Others which already have a minimum price include Russia, Australia and Canada.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the change, saying: “Ireland joins a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing.
“This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce pressure on our health services from alcohol-related conditions. It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here.”
Public Health Minister Frank Feighan added: “We are taking this action to ensure cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money prices’ and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake.
“I am proud Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it the most.”