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23rd Dec 2021

Alcohol prices are set to rise after Christmas

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The new law comes in next year.

The cost of alcohol is set to rise in Irish supermarkets and off-licenses after Christmas as new laws are to be brought in.

The minimum unit pricing is coming into effect from January 4th as part of the Public Health Alcohol Act (2018).

Under this new law, different alcohol products won’t be legally allowed to be sold for less than the minimum set price.

Regardless of where the alcohol is sold, the minimum price will stay the same whether it’s sold in off-licences, supermarkets, bars or restaurants.

So what is this minimum price? One standard drink in Ireland contains 10 grams of alcohol and the minimum standard price for one drink will currently be €1.

While most alcoholic drinks are priced above this, the new pricing will see this rise to €1.70, with a 500ml can of beer being this price.

The cheapest pint would now rise to €1.98 while a 750ml bottle of wine with an alcohol proof of 12.5% and lower will rise in price from around €5 to €7.40.

There will be a 35c rise for wine with a higher alcohol percentage.

When it comes to spirits, drinks with a higher alcohol percentage will see the biggest jump in prices, with a 700ml bottle of gin or vodka sold in supermarkets so to cost at least €20.71 and €22.09 for whiskey.

Research from the HSE from 2019 shows that on average, every person in Ireland aged over 15 had drunk 10.8 litres of alcohol each year.

In real terms, this is the equivalent of either 40 bottles of vodka, 113 bottles of wine or 436 pints of beer.

The aim of rising alcohol prices is to have fewer alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions, hoping to reduce deaths by 200 and hospitalisations by 6,000 each year.

Research carried out by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group found that when this is implemented, alcohol consumption is expected to reduce by almost 9% overall.

Heavy drinkers are expected to reduce their consumption by 15%, while those who drink less are now expected to reduce it by 3%.