Wednesday, 25 April 2012

When is 8% not 8%?

A few years ago, I pointed out how anti-drink campaigners were misleadingly claiming that less than 50% of drinks sold in the off-trade carried the official government safe drinking propaganda information. This may have been true in terms of individual product lines, but when you looked at it in terms of the actual volumes sold, the figure jumped up to over 90%.

We are now seeing something similar with a report that only 8% of off-trade drinks are sold below the proposed minimum price of 40p per unit. 8% isn’t much, it will be argued, so the minimum price will scarcely make any difference to most drinkers. However, once again this is looking at individual products, not at overall volumes. Almost by definition there is likely to be more product proliferation at the top end of the market, and a £12.99 bottle of Chablis is not going to be remotely the equivalent in sales terms of a slab of Carling.

A recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that 71% of all alcohol units bought in the off-trade ware under 45p per unit, and from this I would expect the figure for those under 40p to be well over 50%. Rather different from 8%.


  1. Fancy a wager, Mudge?

    I bet your beard club don't wake up to minimum pricing until over 2 years after it is implemented, and after at least a couple of increases in the minimum.

    Then they will seek to amend it, seek exemptions, campaign against it with an e-petition and deny ever supporting it in the first place.

    You can take the option they will continue to support it on principle and never deny supporting it.

    1 pint of the pongyist artisan craft pong?

  2. Cookie, as you know I am very much a semi-detached member of the beard club, and thus would be broadly on the same side of said wager as your good self.

  3. Me too. And I wrote to the Chairman saying
    "I think espousing this cause is something we'll come to regret. It puts us in the wrong place and with the wrong "allies" in my opinion."

    I will return to the subject in due course.

  4. I've not actually seen anyone in the blogosphere put the CAMRA case for minimum pricing. And the "wrong allies" point is a very important point - CAMRA is basically lining up with the "enemy".

    It is wishful thinking that the anti-drink lobby are really interested in promoting "responsible drinking in the controlled environment of the community pub".

  5. "promoting "responsible drinking in"

    Actually I really think they are very much promoting that because almost everyone wants responsible drinking. What's to argue with about being responsible?
    The 'sleight of hand' lies in their ever changing definition of what is 'responsible'.

  6. I can make the case, Mudge.

    A campaign for something is always likely to be in some case a campaign against what it sees as an alternative. A drink at home is an alternative to a drink in a pub.

    Therefore supporting such measures are intended to damage the alternative in the hope of benefiting what it is campaigning for with the bonus of wrapping itself in the language of responsible drinking.

    A case of opportunism mixed with cynicism and sadly exposing the myth of "a campaign for choice" as "a campaign to choose what we approve of, and where possible remove what we don't"


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