Rising prices in Ireland will bring a boom to the beverage retail sector in Northern Ireland


A new public health policy in the Republic of Ireland promises a boom time for the drinks sector in Northern Ireland – as well as an eventual renaissance for Irish people chest (an illegally brewed spirit)!

Earlier this month, the minimum unit price for alcohol came into effect south of the border. A body representing Irish off-licensees says this means many products now sell for twice as much in the Republic of Ireland as they do in Northern Ireland.

Under the new measures, a standard bottle of wine cannot be sold for less than €7.40 (£6.40) and a can of beer for less than €1.70 (£1.40). 40% alcohol spirits cannot be sold for less than €20.70 (£17.30) and a 700ml bottle of whiskey for less than €22 (£18.40). The specific targeting of whiskey will be controversial given the importance of the Irish whiskey sector.

The Irish government believes minimum pricing is a vital public health measure.

The measure aims to change dangerous alcohol-related behavior with the aim of deterring excessive alcohol consumption and affects alcohol sold off licenses, shops and supermarkets.

The representative of a trade body which represents many unlicensed people in the Republic of Ireland says it is only a matter of time before people start traveling to buy alcohol.

Vincent Sweeney, chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, says people will “save very large sums by going north of the border”.

Some products are now twice as expensive in the Republic as in Northern Ireland, he adds.

“I think it was a huge shock to people how big the differential was.

Measures to introduce minimum prices in Northern Ireland have been discussed for some years, but the benefit to Ulster’s economy from Ireland’s new price structure could put the move on the back burner.

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