Pubs set to benefit as minimum pricing comes to Wales

The way alcohol is sold in Wales was overhauled this week with the introduction of a 50p minimum price per unit.

Price increases will be greatest for so-called 'white ciders', some of which are set to more than double in price. The minimum price for a standard-strength pint of beer containing 2.5 units of alcohol will be £1.25, while an average-strength bottle of wine will cost no less than £5.

The Welsh Government said it has introduced a minimum price to help reduce the harm caused by alcohol which leads to over 500 deaths a year. It said the policy targets harmful drinking and focuses on low-cost, high-strength products.

Pubs are set to benefit from the new policy which will narrow the price differential between drinks consumed inside and outside the home. The campaign group Alcohol Change UK said drinks sold in pubs are already priced well above the 50p per unit minimum and so the change in the law won’t affect them.

A minimum unit price of 50p has been in place in Scotland since 2018, however in England restrictions are only on the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT, a threshold Alcohol Change UK says is “so low it is effectively meaningless”.

In other drinks news, total beer sales increased by 1.1% in 2019 to over 8 billion pints, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The BBPA warned, however, that government plans to increase beer duty in next week’s budget could stifle further growth.

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