The price of some alcoholic drinks in Irish shops and supermarkets has doubled as a controversial minimum cost law took effect.
The alcohol pricing system for lower government units, which came into effect on Tuesday, January 4, means that alcohol cannot be sold for less than 1 euro per 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 €7.40 and a bottle of spirits at least €20.70.
It is part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act that aims to reduce the harm caused by drinking alcohol.
Exit licenses warned of a major blow to trade, with One shop owner in Cork « It goes against everything that every retailer is trying to avoid – overpricing, » he said.
Sam’s Gala Dunmanway posted on Facebook that the price of some bars of beer will nearly double.
The shop warned that « while there is very little change in wines and spirits, the increase in beer bar prices is massive, with some ranging from €25 to €45.45 and from €29 to €47.34 ».
The calculated formula, 10 percent per gram of alcohol, sets the price under which alcohol cannot legally be sold and targets cheap drinks for their strength, the lowest price being determined by and 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% beer, such as Carlsberg, Budweiser or Heineken, costs at least 1.93 euros while a 500ml can of beer itself costs a minimum of 1.70 euros.
This means that a piece of 24 cans of beer costs at least 40.80 euros.
A pint of 4.2% stout, such as Guinness or Beamish, now costs at least 1.88 euros while a 500ml bottle of the same stout costs at least 1.66 euros.
A 700ml bottle of 49% gin, like Tanqueray Dry Gin, should cost €27.06 while a 700ml bottle of 40% vodka will now set you back €22.09.
A typical bottle of wine costs no less than 7.40 euros.
Scotland was the first country in Europe to introduce it in 2018, followed by Wales in 2020.
Other countries that already have minimum prices include Russia, Australia, and Canada.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcome change« Ireland joins a small number of countries in the world in offering minimum pricing, » he said.
“This procedure is designed to reduce serious illness and death due to alcohol consumption and to reduce pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions. I have been successful in Scotland and I look forward to working here.”
Public Health Minister Frank Fegan added: « We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at pocket prices » and to help those who drink to harmful levels reduce their intake.
« I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and take real action to help those who need it most. »