Too dear to drink?
With Scotland set to pass legislation about a minimum price per unit alcohol in supermarkets of 50p per unit, there’s fresh talk here in England about our own legal-minimum of […]
With Scotland set to pass legislation about a minimum price per unit alcohol in supermarkets of 50p per unit, there’s fresh talk here in England about our own legal-minimum of a slightly less rippy-offy 40p per unit. Word is still that this won’t affect pubs (Jesters fans rejoice!), but for those of us who like a glass of something strong at home now and again, when revision is dull and essays are long, how will this potential pricing deal a blow to our drinking habits or our shrivelled student wallets?
To find out, I trawled a few online shopping sites. Asda turned out to be the easiest to get the numbers from- and is where a lot students shop anyway. In my thoroughly unscientific survey, I first ploughed into beer to see how the new price might change things at the cheap end of the spectrum. Obviously this covers big multipacks as well as ‘value’ products.
For instance, although a Carling 20 pack won’t change from its current price of £16.50, a Fosters 20 pack– currently set at £13, would have to go up by around 8% to a minimum of £14.08. At the budget level things are more dramatic. A 4 pack of Smart Price bitter will go up from a generous £1 to £1.90; almost doubling. Even the not-so-value Asda’s own brand of french lager multipack will go up by 60% from £6.05 to £9.60.
Cider is generally slightly dearer per unit than beer. Cheap two litre bottles of things like chav-favourite White Lightning are sure to suffer. I found a cheap brand called Hawkridge, currently at £2 a bottle. This will have to increase to at least £3.36 under the new rules. It seems it’s not all bad though: a Bulmers 8 pack on a cheap ‘rollback’ deal at £9 is still above the threshold price.
Some cheap wine will be immune to the changes too- mainly because cheap wine tends to be much weaker. So a bottle of cheap rosé won’t go up from it’s current £2.48 tag, although it is only 8% ABV. Tesco Value boxed red wine might be a different story as that’s currently available at £3.99 a litre, at 11% ABV. This would have to go up to £4.40.
Spirits bought cheap or in bulk might also squeeze your student loan slightly more. Currently you can pick up a big 1.5 litre bottle of own brand vodka from Asda for £21.47, compared to the possible increased price of £22.50. Not a huge increase, but an increase nonetheless.
If you’re more into things like alcopops, you have nothing to worry about. Even a decent value multipack of 10 WKDs at £11.47 is miles under the threshold – which would only be £4.40! This shows you how much ethanol you get for your money for sweet drinks.
So then, here’s the bottom line of all this speculation and alcoholism. You’re most likely to get hit on good value deals; that doesn’t always mean the cheap nasty stuff since it could be you’re buying things in bulk. In this case. prices might go up although in a lot of cases, not by very much. Looking at some average strengths for beer, wine and spirits the minimum prices per litre can be summarised like this:
Beer (@ 4.4 % ABV) : £1.76 per litre
Wine(@ 12.5% ABV) : £5.00 per litre
Spirits (@ 37.5% ABV): £15.00 per litre
Worst case scenario if you find out you’re no longer able to afford to shake up a Martini at home? Probably best to stagger into Portswood and top up on the “Jesters Value” range.