NFRN welcomes Minimum Unit Pricing

NFRN welcomes Minimum Unit Pricing

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 has been delayed because the government wished to do this 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.

NFRN Ireland president Martin Mulligan said: “We broadly welcome the move to introduce minimum unit pricing because it levels up the playing field. 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.”

However other representative bodies and trade associations have a different view.

RGDATA, which also represents members in the independent retail grocery sector has strongly criticised government plans to unilaterally introduce Minimum Unit Pricing on alcohol sales. The organisation said that the Government’s proposals to introduce the measure unilaterally, without any equivalent proposals in Northern Ireland, are an act of national folly and will merely drive the market for cheap alcohol across the border to Northern Ireland.

An all-island solution is needed to address cheap alcohol says Tara Buckley. Minister Feighan must explain measures to address cross border cheap booze, she says.