Scottish alcohol plans would punish New World

Scotland,WSTA News Wine News
  • Friday 1 August 2008

Proposals by the Scottish government to enforce punitive pricing for higher alcohol drinks will hit the New World hard.

In a bid to curb binge drinking and alcohol misuse the government is planning a series of hard-hitting measures which have been condemned by groups including the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

One plan is to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol, which would result in higher-alcohol wines being far more expensive.

Under the proposals, a bottle of wine of 12.5 degrees alcohol would cost £3.76, while a bottle containing 14.5 degrees would cost £4.36.

This would potentially go against the EU Competition Treaty by unfairly punishing New World countries like the US and Australia which producer higher-alcohol wines, the WSTA says.

It would also encourage people to shop south of the border. ‘We envisage booze-cruises to Carlisle [across the border in England] would become the norm.’

Not only that, Gavin Partington of the WSTA told decanter.com, the legislation does not dictate the price but sets out the principle of minimum pricing – ‘which will allow ministers to alter the minimum price at will.’

The consequences for the wine industry will be serious and far-reaching, he says.

See also Cardas: The Coalition Against Raising the Drinking Age in Scotland

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