Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Price check reveals cheap cost of strong alcohol

Alcohol so cheap you can drink the weekly limit for £2.52 - the price of a takeaway coffee

As minimum pricing returns to court this week, Alcohol Focus Scotland reveals just how cheaply alcohol is being sold in Scotland.

Alcohol Focus Scotland checked the prices of cider, vodka, lager and wine in leading supermarkets and licensed convenience stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It found that cider is top of the list for getting the maximum alcohol for the cheapest price. A 3 litre bottle of “White Ace” cider at 7.5% abv was on sale at £3.99. This works out at 18p per unit, meaning the weekly limit of 14 units can be purchased for just £2.52.

Cheap cider was sold by all the shops and supermarkets visited, with two and three litre bottles typically selling for between 18 and 24p per unit.

Scottish alcohol price check 2016 (pdf)

The cheapest products in each category were:

  • Cider at 18p per unit
  • Vodka at 36p per unit
  • Lager at 26p per unit
  • Wine at 32p per unit

Alcohol Focus Scotland previously carried out a price check in 2011 and found little change in the price of the cheapest alcohol over the past five years.

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:

“It is ridiculous that a toxic, carcinogenic product which causes so much harm can be sold so cheaply. £2.52 is the price of a takeaway coffee yet this can buy the weekly recommended alcohol limit of 14 units. The more affordable alcohol is, the more we drink and this means more alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime and deaths.

"A 50p minimum unit price is the most effective way to raise the price of the cheapest, strongest drinks which cause the most harm in Scotland. It is really disappointing that the Scotch Whisky Association’s legal action has delayed this policy for four years so far. This delay has undoubtedly cost lives.”