Ireland: Minimum Alcohol Pricing Goes Ahead

Despite a similar law being stuck in the courts in Scotland, despite the Scottish plans getting complaints from 12 other European countries, despite the simple fact that it has been proven time and time again that the more you restrict the availability of alcohol, the more people end up drinking and more to the point binge drink. The Irish government has done what it always does. They have stuck their heads in the sand after picking a hair brained idea from the UK that is already on shaky ground and are about to sign it in to law. When will this madness end?

The idea behind minimum pricing isn't too bad. Supposedly it's to stop supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost which in turn attracts customers who will do a full shop while they are there and make the supermarket loads of money. Here's the thing, we already had a ban on below cost selling. It was called the groceries order. All they had to do was bring it back, even if it was only on certain products like alcohol.

I'm on the fence about it though. On the one hand, it seems it should only target the cheap cans of lager that go for about €1 (sometimes less) in supermarkets. This means that the beer will no longer be cheap and those consumers might decide to try a more expensive beer from an independent Irish microbrewery instead? Not likely but it's a possibility. On the other hand, it's just one more ridiculous thing the government has done to drive up the cost of alcohol because of apparent harm and by apparent, we are talking about a small minority of Irish people who have an alcohol problem, not the majority of responsible adults who don't abuse alcohol, treat it with respect and drink in moderation.

Already, Ireland has one of the highest rates of alcohol related tax in the world. Here's the thing, the further north you go, the higher the alcohol tax seems to be and the higher the rate of binge drinking. Let's take Sweden for example. They probably have the highest alcohol tax in the world. The cost of alcohol is ridiculous. Do the people of Sweden stop drinking or even reduce their consumption when they look at the cost? No, they do the worst possible thing. They don't drink at all during the week. They save their drinking time for the weekend and get absolutely slaughtered.

In Ireland, we tend to drink more regularly than that, or at least we did. Sure, the weekends would traditionally entail a little more drinking but not at binge levels as far as I know. Irish people drink less during the week these days and more at the weekends. We are heading towards Sweden and that's not somewhere I want to be.
The further south you go, alcohol is cheaper, less restricted, less taxed, freely available everywhere and they don't have the same level of drinking problems as we do further north. Why is that?

What we need to do in Ireland and similar countries is to try and change our view of alcohol. We need to change our drinking habits and culture rather than try and bury the problem under a pile of taxes and restrictive opening hours.

The sceptic in me might say that a lot of politicians are publicans and minimum pricing only serves to make off-license alcohol more expensive to drive people back in pubs. Personally, I think the pub is the best place to drink alcohol but the choice should be mine and not forced upon me by our elected officials. If I want to drink at home in a responsible manner, I shouldn't be penalised.

Chances are, minimum pricing will not affect me personally because the beer I drink tends to cost about €2.50 per bottle and up. I just wish the government would do something rather than increase the the financial burden of the many because of the alcohol abuse of a few.

What would happen if duty on alcohol was slashed. Vendors, be they pubs or off-licenses/supermarkets can sell alcohol 24 hours a day. If you could grab a beer almost anywhere. Would we, as a nation, drink ourselves in to oblivion? We might go nuts and think Christmas has come early but I suspect that would only last a short while before we got back to normal and I suspect drink less, or at least spread our drinking to save levels rather than keeping it all for the weekend. Getting drunk should be socially unacceptable. It's seen as a macho thing to do, get so drunk you can't remember what a great time you had. I think it's better to try and not get drunk and just enjoy a few beers in a social setting, have a laugh and not have to suffer the next day.

According to this article by Séan Billings almost a year ago, the evidence shows that in the past, when we increased alcohol prices there was a rise in alcohol consumption, not a reduction. I think this hits the nail on the head.
Even when alcohol sales began declining in 2003 alcohol related harm and disorder actually increased, showing that it was not the problem drinkers mending their ways, but the moderate drinkers cutting down that caused the downward trend
So, a problem drinker will always be a problem drinker, no matter how you tax them. The only people alcohol price increases harm are moderate to low drinkers who might now think twice about reaching for a bottle of wine. The ones with a problem or likely to display anti social behaviour will not be put off. Something else needs to be done, not just something that makes it seem that something is being done when in fact it's not.

I welcome any comments on this rant.

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tide,1,riptide,1,rising sons,1,road dog,1,roadtrip,1,rochefort,1,Rochefort 10,2,Rodenbach,1,rogue beer,1,róisin,1,rome,1,rooie dop,1,rook and vuur,1,root canal,1,Rosé de Gambrinus,1,rosey nosey,1,round-up,2,roundup,2,ruddles,1,rugby,5,Russian imperial,1,russian river,1,rye river,2,saint bidgets porter,1,saint paul,1,Saint Petersburg,1,saison,2,saison 1900,1,Salthill,1,sam adams,1,Samichlaus,1,samual adams,2,samuel adams,1,samurai rice ale,1,san diego,1,san francisco,2,san sebastian,1,sanda black,1,Santa’s Little Helper,1,saranac,2,sassy red,1,satanic mills,1,saugatuck,2,sawtooth ale,1,scaldy porter,1,Schlapppeseppel,1,Schneider Weisse,3,Schneider Weisse Tap 4,1,scotland,1,second chance,1,Seeing red,4,Seeing red v2,2,seo,1,septemberfest,1,shady pale,1,shandon century stout,2,sharp's,3,sharps,1,shave or dye,1,sheepshagger,1,shephard neame,2,shepherd neame,2,sheridans,1,shipyard,1,shpherd neame,1,Sierra Nevada,10,Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale,2,Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale,2,signal,1,Sigtina,1,singapore ipa. esb amber,1,Single Brew Reserve,1,sink the bismark,1,sixex,1,ska brewing,1,skyrim,1,slaters,1,sloop brewing,1,smithwicks,3,smoke jumper,1,smoked baltic porter,1,smoked porter,1,smooth ryed,1,smuggler,1,snake dog,1,sneck lifter,1,snow eater,1,Sorachi ace,1,Sorachi Ale,1,Sotholmon,1,sour beer,1,South Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spindrift,1,Spitting Llama,1,Squealing Pig,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,stone,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe hendrick,1,Streaky,1,stumptown tart,1,sublimely self righteous ale,1,Sullivan's,2,summer,1,Summer IPA,1,summer lightning,1,summerwine,1,sunburnt Irish red,1,suntory,1,supervalu,1,sur amarillo,1,surrender to the void,1,survey,1,sushi,2,sweden,1,Swedish beer,1,sweetwater,1,sweetwater brewery,1,sydney,6,Syvturys,1,t-shirts,1,T' Pakhuis,1,tactical nuclear penguin,1,tally-ho,1,tangle foot,1,Tankovna,1,Tap X,1,tapster,1,taste test,2,tasting,1,tasting session,1,tawny 05,1,tayberry,1,tea,1,teeling,1,tempest,1,temple bar chocolate festival,1,terrible beer,3,tesco,1,thanks to the big boys,2,the banshee,1,the beast,1,the beer moment,1,The Big Lunch Beer Challenge,1,the black sheep,1,The Brewrey Tap,1,the end of history,1,the fearless,1,the force,1,The Golden Pints Beer Awards 2010,1,The Great divide,3,the haka,1,The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,1,The Late Night Levy,1,The little Brewing Company,1,the lord nelson,1,The Matt Brewing Company,1,the old stand,1,the oslo,4,the perfect publican,1,the rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,41,the white hag,2,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,30,travel notes,1,Treaty City,1,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,3,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,tuatara,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,Urban Brewing,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,vrienden,1,Waiheke Island,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,Wellington,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,1,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,Wickham Tap,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,2,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter spirit,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: Ireland: Minimum Alcohol Pricing Goes Ahead
Ireland: Minimum Alcohol Pricing Goes Ahead
The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2013/10/ireland-minimum-alcohol-pricing-goes.html
http://www.taleofale.com/
http://www.taleofale.com/
http://www.taleofale.com/2013/10/ireland-minimum-alcohol-pricing-goes.html
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