Tuesday, August 17, 2021

James Cox

The weekly limit for alcohol consumption in Ireland can be bought for less than €8.

Alcohol Action Ireland’s (AAI) annual survey of off-licences finds men can spend €7.65 while women only have to spend €4.95.

Minimum unit pricing is set to be introduced here in January of next year.

AAI spokesperson Eunan McKinney says cheap alcohol is a huge problem.

Alcohol abuse

Mr McKinney told Newstalk: “This continuous availability of cheap alcohol is largely what is driving our continuing difficulty with alcohol. Hundreds of people are being killed annually because of alcohol abuse, we have over 578,000 people in this country with alcohol use disorders and a lot of that is down to a very fundamental point and that is the wide availability of cheap alcohol.”

The survey found Cullen’s Irish Cider sold in Aldi at 45c per standard drink, followed by Galahad beer also in Aldi at the equivalent of 46c per standard drink.

Conde Rose wine is sold by Lidl for 61c per standard drink at €3.99 per bottle. In Tesco, the Nikita Imperial Vodka sells for 63c per standard drink.

Mr McKinney added: “It is evident that the alcohol producers and retailers are already shifting their marketing strategies to ensure retention of key price points.”

Successive Governments have sought to crackdown on cheap alcohol as a public health measure and to reduce alcohol misuse.

With January 2022 on the horizon, here are answers to some key questions around the new pricing.

What will it mean for consumers?

With a minimum pricing for alcohol it will mean stores will not be able to choose the lowest price they sell alcohol. There will be a minimum price limit.

The plan is to introduce a minimum price of 10 cent per gram. This would mean the cheapest bottle of wine would cost €7.75 where previously it could cost under €5.

A 700ml bottle of supermarket vodka now costing between €13 and €14 would cost €20.71 under the system. Meanwhile, the cheapest 330ml can of lager will be at least €1.12.

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