REMINDER: Minimum Unit Pricing to commence on the 4 January 2022
What is Minimum Unit Pricing?
From 4 January 2022, a ‘floor price’ for alcohol will be introduced which will mean that alcohol cannot be sold below a minimum price. The minimum pricing system will be calculated based on the strength of the alcohol. As a result, the stronger the alcoholic drink the more expensive it will be for the customer.
What is the formula for calculating the minimum price?
Section 11(1) of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 states the minimum price per gram of alcohol for the purposes of the Act shall be €0.10 and shall be calculated using the following formula:
A x B = C
A is the minimum price per gram of alcohol which is defined as 10 cent.
B is the quantity in grams of alcohol contained in the alcohol product and
C = the minimum price of alcohol product expressed in euro and cent.
How can I calculate the quantity in grams of alcohol contained in an alcohol product?
The quantity in grams of alcohol contained in an alcohol product shall be calculated using the following formula:
A x B X 0.789 = C
A is the volume, expressed in milliliters, of liquid contained in the alcohol product,
B is the alcoholic strength by volume of the alcohol product, and
C = the quantity in grams of alcohol contained in the alcohol product.
For ease, below is a table indicating a Minimum Unit Price (MUP) of products after commencement
What happens if I don’t comply with the new legislation?
Under section 11(6) of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 it is an offence to:-
(a) Sell an alcohol product at the price below the minimum price, or
(b) Advertise, promote or cause to be advertised or promoted the sale of an alcohol product at a price that is below the minimum price.
The Act also states that where an offence under this Act is committed by a company and is proved to have been so committed with the consent or connivance of or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of a director, manager, or secretary that person can also be proceeded against and is liable to the same convictions.
What are the penalties for breaching the MUP provisions?
A person who sells alcohol or promotes the sale of alcohol at a price that is below the minimum price for that product, shall be guilty of an offence which is punishable on conviction to a fine of up to €250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years.
It may be a defence under the Act for those facing prosecution to claim that they have made ‘all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance’ to comply with the provisions of the Act. Staff should be fully trained in relation to the MUP to ensure that all alcohol for sale meet the threshold and to avoid any oversights relating to offers etc.
If a person is convicted of an offence the Court is obliged to order the guilty person to pay the prosecutions costs and expenses unless it is satisfied that there are special and substantial reason not to do so.
Who will be most affected?
- Off Licences, supermarkets and convenience stores selling strong alcohol at lower prices will be most affected. Retailers need to ensure that they have accurately calculated the MUP for those alcohol products that don’t conform to the standard measurements. Many specialised beers and ciders have different ‘mls’ to the standard 500ml can or 330ml bottles.
- Retailers should also be careful when selling different types of alcohol, with or without other non-alcohol products, for a single price as part of a hamper or gift set. The calculation of minimum price must be made for each alcohol product when setting the single price.
- The minimum pricing strategy is not likely to affect pubs and restaurants because on sales are already sold at more than €0.10 per gram of alcohol. However, they should be careful when carrying out any off sales to ensure the transaction is above the minimum unit price.
- The new minimum pricing strategy does not apply to wholesalers. As a result, the holder of a wholesale spirit, beer or wine licence will be able to sell alcohol below the minimum set price, provided the sale is in wholesale quantities.
What should Retailers do next?
Retailers need to ensure they have updated their alcohol pricing structure and made the necessary changes on the shop floor and on their EPOS systems.
If you wish to discuss any of the above in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact one of our licensing team who will be happy to assist you.
- Lorraine Compton on 086 – 253 4651 or email@example.com
- Fiona Tonge on 089 – 471 4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.