Ireland introduces minimum unit pricing on alcohol to regulate consumption

IRELAND – Ireland has introduced a minimum unit pricing on alcohol that aims to regulate the amount of alcohol that people within its borders drink. 

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) which will apply to alcohol wherever it is sold sets a minimum price per gram of alcohol, meaning it cannot be sold for less than that price.  

The minimum price for one standard drink (which in Ireland contains 10 grams of alcohol) will now be €1.  

Under the new law, a 12.5% bottle of wine which is 7.4 standard drinks cannot be sold for less than €7.40. 

In 2019, on average, every person in Ireland aged 15 and over drank 10.8 liters of pure alcohol a year – the equivalent of either 40 bottles of vodka, 113 bottles of wine, or 436 pints of beer.  

Given that most alcoholic drinks have more than 10 grams of alcohol, especially in pubs, clubs, and restaurants, prices are expected to spike, forcing consumers to either reduce consumption or spend more.  

Ireland hopes the price increases will act as a deterrent to alcoholism and expects consumption to reduce by almost 9%, according to research from the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.  

The heaviest drinkers are expected to reduce their alcohol consumption by 15%, while people who already drink within the low-risk alcohol guidelines are expected to drink 3% less.  

This should result in around 200 fewer alcohol-related deaths and 6,000 fewer hospital admissions per year.  

Irish health officials point to data showing alcohol purchases in Scotland reduced by 7.6% in the year after minimum unit pricing on alcohol was introduced. 

Bacardi debuts a new non-alcoholic spirit  

Meanwhile, Bacardi is launching a non –alcoholic spirit, Palette, in bars across London, Amsterdam, and Paris this month.  

The spirit is available in two expressions, Palette Roots and Palette Bold, and is said to have natural flavors from botanicals that include, American oakwood, gentian root, juniper berries, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  

Palette joins Bacardi’s premium NoLo portfolio that includes Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo Vibrante and Floreale, as well as Martini Fiero vermouth and St-Germain elderflower liqueur,. 

“We’re calling time on sweet, tasteless ‘mocktails’,” says Marine Rozenfeld, Innovation Development Lead for Bacardi Europe, Australia & New Zealand. 

 “With the launch of Palette coming hot on the heels of our new Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo with its groundbreaking quality and taste, we are definitely taking mindful drinking to new heights.”  

Palette seeks to tap into the accelerating mindful drinking trend – the NoLo spirits category grew by more than 30% in 2020 and global consumption of NoLo spirits is expected to grow by another 31% by 2024, according to IWSR. 

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