Independents back minimum unit price for alcohol in Ireland

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The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed the announcement that the Irish government is to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol products next year.

From January 1, 2022, the cheapest bottle of wine will cost €7.75, where previously it could cost under €5. A 700ml bottle of supermarket gin or vodka costing between €13 and €14 will rise to €20.71 under the system, while a 440ml can of lager will be a minimum of €1.32.

The plan was originally approved in 2018 but implementation was delayed because the government wished to introduce it at the same time as Northern Ireland, in order to discourage potential smuggling and consumers travelling to retailers in the north.

However, Stormont has now indicated it will not be proceeding with similar legislation in the near future.

“We broadly welcome the move to introduce minimum unit pricing because it levels up the playing field,” said NFRN Ireland president Martin Mulligan. “The big multiples have taken our confectionery and Christmas trade, so it will give us all a fighting chance to compete.”

Clonmel convenience store owner Tom McDermott added: “For years the multiples have been using cheap alcohol as a loss leader. Minimum pricing will help smaller retailers to compete, especially on leading brands.”