The price of some liquor has more than doubled in Irish shops and supermarkets as a controversial minimum cost law comes into force.
The government’s minimum unit price system for alcohol, which went into effect on Tuesday, January 4, means alcohol cannot be sold for less than € 1 per unit.
The rule put an end to promotional offers and cheap drinks, with the cheapest can of beer now being € 1.70, while a typical bottle of wine costs no less than € 7.40 and a bottle of spirits at least € 20.70.
This is part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Law aimed at reducing the harm of alcohol.
The off licenses have warned of huge commercial success, with a store owner in Cork saying, “This goes against everything every retailer tries to avoid: raising prices. “
Sam’s Dunmanway Gala posted on Facebook that the price of some beer slices would almost double.
“If the wines and spirits change very little, the increase in the price of slices of beer is astronomical, some going from 25 to 45.45 € and from 29 to 47.34 €”, warns the store.
A calculated formula, of 10 cents per gram of alcohol, fixes the price below which alcohol cannot be legally sold and targets drinks that are cheap relative to their strength. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportional to the alcohol content.
What is the new cost of beer, wine and spirits in Ireland?
The formula means that a pint of 4.3% lager beer, like Carlsberg, Budweiser or Heineken costs at least 1.93 € while a 500ml can of the same lager costs at least 1. € 70.
This means that a slice of 24 cans of beer costs at least € 40.80.
A pint of 4.2% stout, like 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 like Tanqueray Dry Gin should cost € 27.06 while a 700ml bottle of 40% vodka now costs you € 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 that already have a minimum price include Russia, Australia, and Canada.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the change, saying: “Ireland is joining a small number of countries around the world in introducing a minimum price.
“This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the strain on our health services by alcohol-related conditions.” It worked in Scotland and I can’t wait for it to work here.
Public Health Minister Frank Feighan added: “We are taking this step to ensure that cheap hard liquor is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money’ and to help those who drink at harmful levels reduce their intake.
“I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and take concrete action to help those who need it most.”