Drinks industry bears the brunt as minimum alcohol price looms

Still licking their wounds from the Chancellor’s recent Budget and more pertinently from the continuation of the alcohol tax escalator which equates to a 5% increase in excise duty, the drinks industry have been dealt another blow following reports the government will shortly announce new legislation setting a minimum alcohol price of 40p a unit in England.
Prime Minister David Cameron, in what is thought to be the biggest public intervention since the Labour government’s smoking ban, also plans to ban the sale of multi-buy discount deals in supermarkets which isn’t necessarily bad news for the CellarVie Wines team!
The coalition plans to introduce the new restrictions in autumn after a summer consultation, in the hope the minimum price comes into force in 2014. 
The thinking behind the ban on discount deals is to curtail the increasingly common deals promoted by major supermarkets, many of whom sell alcoholic beverages at a loss. 
The government believe the 40p a unit minimum price will result in 50,000 fewer crimes a year, in addition to 9,000 fewer alcohol related deaths in the next decade, as Cameron wages war on the country’s perceived binge drinking culture. 
According to The Guardian, the Prime Minister will say: "This isn't about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new stealth tax – it's about fast immediate action where universal change is needed.
"Of course, I know this won't be universally popular. But the responsibility of being in government isn't always about doing the popular thing. It's about doing the right thing."
The aforementioned source intimates the drinks industry, like the tobacco industry before it, is certain to challenge Cameroon’s intentions at the European court of justice under EU competition laws.
CellarVie Wines says: It does indeed feel as if the drinks industry is somewhat under the cosh at the minute. While it’s difficult to oppose the increases in tax given the current uncertain financial climate, the industry appears to be being singled out, while the consumer inadvertently punished for enjoying a glass of wine. Having said that, the minimum alcohol price of 40p a unit in England will with any luck lead to supermarkets taking a more responsible approach to the way they market and sell alcohol.
Anything that promotes responsible drinking is important but equally the recent developments in the drinks industry courtesy of the powers that be have inevitably placed greater pressures on independent retailers and wholesalers to somehow absorb these increases. 
While the price hike and the level of it has increased dramatically it is all relevant and the rise will of course not be as keenly felt on a premium bottle of wine. If that’s the case then hopefully consumers and wine drinkers in general will be encouraged to drink better quality of wine. 
To read more about the budget and CellarVie Wines' reaction to it click here.  
[Picture courtesy of DJ Spiess www.fermentarium.com]  


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