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26th Apr 2021

What minimum alcohol pricing will mean for buying drink in pubs, restaurants, off-licenses and shops

Clara Kelly


Here’s everything you need to know.

A leaked memo due to be brought before Cabinet has shown the Government’s intentions to introduce a set minimum price of 10 cent per gram of alcohol.

The legislation would be introduced under Section 11 of the Public Health Alcohol Act and would see an increase in the cost of “cheap alcohol”, including beer, wine, and spirits.

What is minimum alcohol pricing (MUP)?

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is a “floor price” for which alcohol cannot legally be sold and is based on the amount of alcohol in a product, measured in grammes.

One standard drink in Ireland contains 10 grammes of alcohol and an MUP would apply per standard drink.

What will it mean for buying alcohol in Dunnes, Tesco, and other shops and off-licenses?

According to the memo, the new legislation would see a minimum price of €1.32 introduced on a 440ml can of lager, a €7.75 minimum on a 750ml bottle of chardonnay, and a €20.71 charge on a 700ml bottle of gin or vodka.

Supermarket brands such as Tesco’s own-brand vodka is also expected to price from around €12.99 to €20.71, with a similar-sized bottle of gin set to go up in price from €14.25 to €20.71 and a €3.99 bottle of wine increasing in cost to €6.50.

What will it mean for buying alcohol in restaurants, bars, and clubs?

According to Alcohol Ireland, the MUP will not affect the price of any alcohol sold in pubs, clubs, and restaurants in Ireland whenever they do reopen.

This is due to “alcohol in the on-trade already being sold well above the threshold for any proposed MUP.”

What is the reason for the MUP?

MUP is a targeted measure, designed to stop strong alcohol from being sold at very low prices in the off-trade, particularly supermarkets, where alcohol is frequently used as a “loss leader” and sold at low prices.

Will it impact the North of Ireland?

The Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann told the Sunday Independent that said that similar legislation will not be enacted in the North before May 2022.

However, the memo revealed that the Irish Government is looking at its timeline for the introduction of the legislation to reduce the “health harms of alcohol” by preventing the sale of alcoholic beverages at low prices.

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