The minimum unit price (MUP) – which means that a bottle of wine cannot be sold for under £4.69, a four-pack of 500ml beer cans for under £4 and a bottle of whisky for less than £14 – came into effect on Tuesday after a six-year battle with alcohol industry bodies.
Scottish ministers have said that a minimum price would help tackle Scotland’s “unhealthy relationship with drink” by raising the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol.
Although the law was first passed by MSPs back in 2012, it has been routinely challenged in court by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which lost its final appeal in the Supreme Court in November 2017.
It had previously argued that MUP was illegal under EU law and that it amounted to a “trade barrier” which “is a real concern for our industry”.
The law will hit alcoholic beverages such as white cider particularly hard. While in the past it was possible to purchase a two-litre bottle of strong (7.5% ABV) cider for £2.52, after today’s law change, the same bottle will cost at least £7.50.
Cautious that we’re unable to accurately predict the consequences of enforcing MUP, Scottish ministers have included a ‘sunset clause’ in the law, which means the pricing regulations will automatically end in six years if the government decides the policy isn’t working.
Reactions from the drinks industry have been very mixed. While regulatory bodies such as CAMRA are cautiously looking towards the six-month mark, some drinks firms, such as the producer of Tennent’s Lager, are in full support.
We’re rounding up the industry’s reactions to MUP, from brewers to wine experts.
Keep scrolling to see what the trade is saying about MUP.[“Source-thedrinksbusiness”]