Alcohol prices

Minimum price Ireland: we compare the prices of alcohol in Dundalk and Newry

It’s about crossing the border this week as punters try to escape the new alcohol price hike that doesn’t just hit problem drinkers – it hits everyone.

We visited shops and supermarkets on both sides of the border this week just to see in real terms how much cheaper people up north have it, and the results were enough to get you drinking!

The new minimum unit price (MUP) introduced on Tuesday means the cheapest can of beer is now € 1.70 and the cheapest bottle of wine is € 7.40. Vodka and gin will cost a minimum of € 20.70 and whiskey will drop to at least € 22.

It is designed to hit problem drinkers and ease the strain on health services from alcohol-related conditions, which are said to cost us over $ 2 billion a year.

The Sunday World therefore took to the road to compare prices between sales and supermarkets on both sides of the border.


Jamie McDowell with his purchases

Jamie McDowell with his purchases

Newry and Dundalk were clearly in the midst of this beautiful New Years lull as the Christmas craziness subsided, and while Covid is still at the forefront of business owners’ minds, there are creeping signs of life, a almost “normal” life, were seen.

In Newry, an unlicensed worker told us he, and other workers like him, had already seen what they thought was the start of an influx of southerners to northern border towns for a drink before this. weekend. .

Several of my friends who are originally from Belfast, but who are based in Dublin for their work, told me that they would “fill up the boot” before heading back south.


Jamie went to buy alcohol in Dundalk to compare prices

Jamie went to buy alcohol in Dundalk to compare prices

Jamie went to buy alcohol in Dundalk to compare prices

Another source listening to the criminal community around the border in the Derry area said he was aware of the petty drug dealers in the south, who sell “party packs” to drug addicts before and during each day. weekends, were considering jumping over the border to buy bottles of cheap spirits before heading back south to “earn a few extra pounds” on house calls.

What we found on our travels was that more premium alcoholic beverage brands weren’t as badly affected by the new MUP laws as the cheaper brands – that is, – say which drinks MUP was developed for, so we focused on the cheaper products. .

For example, a 70cl bottle of Bushmills in a northern supermarket will cost you £ 20 / € 23.97, while in the Republic, in the same supermarket, it is € 23 / £ 19.18, so it comes down to made cheaper in the Republic.

It is important to note at this point that some brands and sizes of beer packs cannot be compared identically, as some brands, supermarket chains and multiple pack sizes differ when crossing the border.

Also, we avoided the drinks that were on promotion.

First, we headed over to The Wine Company’s sales in Newry, where we picked up some of their cheaper offerings, to compare with similar products just across the border in Dundalk.

Our significant achievement at The Wine Company consisted of a 70 cl ‘ten glasses’ bottle of Kulov Vodka (£ 12.49 / € 14.95), a two liter bottle of Strongbow (£ 3.49 / € 4.18 ), a bottle of Buckfast (£ 7.99 / € 9.56, a 12-pack Carlsberg (£ 10.49 / € 12.56), and two cans of high-alcohol alcopops called Four Loko Fruit Punch ( £ 3.29 / € 3.94) each.

We also stopped at two big brand supermarkets in the city, which residents say have also seen a marked increase in the number of people living in the neighboring Republic doing “alcohol shopping”.

We bought a 70cl bottle of our own brand blended whiskey for £ 10.79 / € 12.92. In another large supermarket we bought a pack of 18 Carlsberg cans (440ml) for £ 18.99 / € 22.74.

With a boot full of booze, we headed for the border to see if there was a major difference for ourselves.

When we got to Dundalk, a mural on the outskirts of town for people heading north really said it all: “Okay, I’m far away.”

I couldn’t help but think that a small amendment below might read: “… for a take-out.” “

There we went to another large supermarket and bought a bottle of private label whiskey for € 22.50 / £ 18.79, which had a significant price difference with the bottle from the northern supermarket, of exactly 9 , 57 € / 8 £.

In comparison, we bought a 15-pack of Carlsberg cans (500ml) for € 28 / £ 23.38 from another Dundalk supermarket.

That’s a difference of € 14.84 / £ 12.39 – and in the cheaper “Nordie” pack you actually get a bit more beer (7L 920ml vs. 7L 500ml from pack 15).

Meanwhile, at Dundalk pharmacies, we bought a 70cl bottle of Glen’s Vodka for € 20.75 / £ 17.32. While the difference in quality between Glen’s Vodka and Kulov Vodka is up to the drinker, both are towards the cheaper end of the spectrum, and the difference between the two was £ 4.83 / € 5.78. While they can’t be compared identically, again there was a pretty big difference.

A bottle of Buckfast has also taken a leap forward. In local Dundalk pharmacies, a bottle of the famous plonk costs € 14 / £ 11.69, a price increase of £ 3.70 / € 4.43. In one supermarket we visited, ‘Bucky’ was actually more than that, at € 15 / £ 12.52.


Alcohol was better value at Sainsbury's

Alcohol was better value at Sainsbury’s

Alcohol was better value at Sainsbury’s

The drinks that one can get the impression that the new legislation has been introduced to reduce, the alcopops, we were able to compare at constant perimeter.

A can of Four Loko Fruit Punch, a very strong 8.5% volume alcopop, the same as some white wines, cost us 5 € / £ 4.17, a difference of 68p / 81c between the can bought in the off-license north, which we found surprising, given that this is one of the drinks that we believe would have been heavily affected by the MUP.

If you were to buy six, that’s another £ 4.08 / € 4.88, so that would start to add up very quickly.

This was obviously by no means an in-depth assessment of the price increases brought by the MUP, but it served as an interesting litmus test showing why many sales along the Northern Irish border are poised to earn so much. money with the new fatwa on cheap alcohol.

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