New rules on sale of alcohol introduced

Scottish government plans to introduce an MUP of 50 pence per unit of alcohol seem set to get the go-ahead
Multi-buy deals and alcohol voucher schemes are no longer allowed

Popular deals, such as “buy six bottles for €50”, or “buy six and get 25 per cent off”, are no longer allowed

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12 January 2021 | 0

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Regulations on sale of alcohol have come into effect under new legislation. Since 11 January, alcohol sales have been disallowed from supermarket voucher schemes. Popular multibuy deals have also come to an end.

This is part of government efforts to reduce the consumption of alcohol under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018. Over the past year, gradual moves to introduce the Act have been made, i.e., though the introduction of off-licence barriers. However, the latest measures affect consumers more directly.

The act prohibits grocers and off-licence outlets from awarding loyalty card points on alcohol sales.

Alcohol sellers are also banned from selling alcohol at a reduced price on the basis of the purchase of another product or service. This means that popular deals, such as “buy six bottles for €50”, or “buy six and get 25 per cent off”, will be disallowed.

Alcohol Action Ireland, an advocate for reducing alcohol harm, welcomed the new restrictions. Eunan McKinney, head of communications with Alcohol Action Ireland said “ending of short-term promotions, so evident throughout the supermarket multiples, will bring some reason to what have been truly reckless price reductions on alcohol.”

The main goal of the act is to reduce alcohol consumption by measures such as minimum unit pricing, regulation of advertising of alcohol products, and reduced visibility of alcohol products in supermarkets.

Another change included in the act relates to minimum pricing, which would set a floor on alcohol prices. However, the government said this will have to wait until it can be introduced on both sides of the border at the same time.

Alcohol Action Ireland is calling for “the immediate implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol products, which has been interminably delayed by government inertia.”

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