All alcohol sold in Ireland will be subject to a minimum price depending on how much alcohol in grams is in it from today, January 4, as per the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018.
Ireland's new minimum unit pricing dictates that the lowest price that can be charged for a gram of alcohol is 10 cents.
A standard drink in Ireland has 10 grams of alcohol in it, meaning the lowest price that could be charged for one standard drink would be €1.
Some examples of a standard drink are a pub measure of spirits (35.5mls), a small glass of wine (12.5% volume), and a half-pint of normal beer.
Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) notes that most alcoholic drinks are already above this minimum price, especially in pubs, clubs, and restaurants.
Minimum alcohol pricing is applicable to all alcohol products sold online or in-store in Ireland, however, it will not apply to the sale of alcohol products in duty-free / tax-free shops for those departing the country.
DrinkAware.ie has shared these examples of the minimum price that can be charged for alcohol as per the minimum alcohol pricing structure:
- Can of beer - 500 mls - 4.3% ABV - €1.70
- Can of cider - 500 mls - 5.5 % ABV - €2.17
- Bottle of wine - 750 mls - 12.5% ABV - €7.40
- Bottle of strong wine - 750 mls - 14.8% ABV - €8.76
- Bottle of spirits - 700 mls - 40% ABV - €22.09
24 500ml cans of beer that have 4.3% ABV would be priced at €40.80.
Signed into law in October 2018, the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018 seeks “to address the negative impacts of consumption on public health grounds.
“It is part of a suite of measures designed to reduce alcohol consumption and limit the damage to the nation’s health, society, and economy."
In addition to minimum unit pricing for alcohol, the Act includes provisions for structural separation, health labeling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol, the regulation of sports sponsorship, and restrictions on certain promotional activities.
Ireland's minimum unit pricing is designed to target the heaviest drinkers who seek the cheapest alcohol, the HSE says.
A heavy drinker, according to the HSE, is someone who regularly drinks more than 11 standard drinks per week for women and 17 standard drinks per week for men with at least 2 to 3 alcohol-free days per week. A heavy drinker is also someone who regularly drinks more than 6 standard drinks on one occasion.
The HSE says that research by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group found that when minimum unit pricing on alcohol is introduced in Ireland, alcohol consumption is expected to reduce by almost 9% overall.
The heaviest drinkers are expected to reduce their alcohol consumption by 15%, while people who already drink within the low-risk alcohol guidelines are expected to drink 3% less.
The heaviest drinkers buy the cheapest alcohol, according to the HSE. Minimum unit pricing on alcohol targets these drinkers, reducing its affordability so that less alcohol is purchased. This will reduce the harm that alcohol causes them and others.
It is hoped that the minimum pricing will lead to 200 fewer alcohol-related deaths and 6,000 fewer hospital admissions in Ireland per year.