Saturday, 1 October 2011

Bog off to bogofs

Alongside all the fuss about the likely damp squibs of 2.8% beers, schooner glasses and High Strength Beer duty that have been introduced today, the Scottish Nannying Party government north of the border have sneaked in a ban on any form of price promotion or multibuy discount on alcoholic drinks. So no more two slabs of Carling for £12, or four PBAs for £5.50.

The thinking behind this is deeply patronising, that people are so weak-willed and foolish that they end up being seduced by these offers into drinking more than they otherwise would. However in reality the vast majority of people have limited budgets and use these offers simply to purchase a set amount of drink in the most cost-effective way. The idea that it will do anything to reduce overall alcohol consumption doesn’t really stand up. It may also act against the interest of less well-known brewers and winemakers, as shoppers will no longer have the chance to choose something unfamiliar to top up their 3 for £10 or whatever.

Presumably this also means that all those small off-licences that will sell you an individual can as well as a four-pack will have to price them exactly pro-rata. Yet I’ve seen the argument that selling single cans encourages problem drinking as it lowers the minimum price point for getting a drink, which is on a par with saying that selling fags in packets of 10 encourages smoking. Which way do they want it – big packs or little ones? And will a 35cl bottle of Scotch, pocket-size favourite of the street drunk, have to be exactly half the price of a 70cl one?

Anyone capable of a bit of forward planning will still be able to take advantage of these offers by purchasing from England via the Internet, or simply by calling in to Carlisle ASDA as they are passing.

Mind you, one trivial benefit will be that pubs will no longer be able to charge more than 50% of the price of a pint for a half...


  1. Do CAMRA have a Coven in the glens
    and if so what is their take on
    this Pictish Pallaver.
    Hadrian (The Roman) had the right
    idea with that rain sodden bog.
    Come back Eddy Longshanks for heavens sake

    Horsa's Hauskarl

  2. "Mind you, one trivial benefit will be that pubs will no longer be able to charge more than 50% of the price of a pint for a half."

    Didn't know that Mudgie. Do you have a link?

  3. I can't find anything saying that as such, but it's a logical implication of the rules, and I'm sure I've seen it before somewhere.

    The single can thing is certainly correct, see here:

    "In addition, if a store sells one can or bottle for £1, a six-pack equivalent must be priced £6."

    The large supermarkets in general do not sell single cans, but many independent off-licences do.

  4. Hmmm Don't think I've ever bought a BOGOF as they never seem to do it on anything I buy regularly.

  5. This might well be of interest - a view on the changes from north of the border.

  6. As soon as I saw the phrase "ever-cheaper alcohol" alarm bells started ringing.

    And the bit about denying planning consents to retailers deemed to be not complying with the spirit of the law, even if abiding by it to the letter, is truly sinister.


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