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Minimum pricing response

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Minimum pricing response

Postby Rob Allanson » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:53 pm

In response to publication of the Scottish Government's legislative programme, which includes plans to introduce minimum pricing of alcohol, The Scotch Whisky Association said:

"We support a firm line on alcohol misuse but Government claims that minimum prices will not damage Scotch are wrong and worryingly blind to the long-term harmful consequences for Scotch Whisky sales globally.

"Minimum prices will hurt Scottish distillers at home and overseas. Government figures show little evidence that this measure will tackle alcohol misuse, begging the question how high the price of alcohol will have to be increased by Government, and penalising the majority in order to discourage the minority that drink excessively.

"To introduce a minimum price trade barrier requires Scotland to opt-out of international trade rules. Such an exemption can only be justified in very limited circumstances and no Government has advanced such a claim, even in relation to tobacco. The negative message the Scottish Government is sending out about Scotch is deeply concerning.

"If successfully introduced, the Scottish Government will give the green light to countries, already keen to protect local markets, to introduce spurious health-based trade barriers against Scotch, damaging exports and the wider economy.

"Our frustration is heightened because we welcome the vast majority of the alcohol strategy and believe it could have sent out a more positive message internationally if taken forward in partnership."
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby borgom » Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:42 am

My understanding was that this affected only super cheap alcohol. Is there very much if any Scotch whisky that falls into this category? Or have I misunderstood the proposed legislation?
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:24 am

I think you find a lot of super cheap Scotch out there in many countries. There's always some brand propping up the category and you have to ask, what coustomers are these brands pitched against. And how are they produced so cheaply? Maybe a minimum price threshold might be a good thing! I know that might be controversial here but maybe cheap Scotch does impact on the whole perception of whiskey. When you get such brands out there selling for less than a basic everyday 37.5% alc vol vodka, it certainly undermines the craft of whiskey making and reduces it to being a brown coloured ethenol hit.

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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Willie JJ » Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:20 pm

It won't of course affect anyone outside Scotland. The idea as I understand it is to make a minimum price for a unit of alcohol. This wouldn't be likely to affect malt, because it would always be above this limit anyway. However, cheap blends and other cheap spirits may be affected which is why the SWA will be upset since it is more or less run by Diageo, which produces oceans of cheap rubbish.
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:12 pm

[quote="Willie JJ"]It won't of course affect anyone outside Scotland[/quote]

True but like smoking bans etc these things start smewhere and can gather momentum. I don't know what anyone else thinks but perhaps there is room for minimum standards in terms of grain quality, cask quality, maximum proportions of grain spirit etc (or am I going over torturous old ground here!) to ease out those horrendous ultra cheap whiskies that, lets be honest, tend to be seen in brown paper bags under park benches. I think I have to say I would support initiateves to set a floor, somehow, on the pricing of whiskey, which I imagine would drive the low price consumers to other spirits/drinks and protect the historically premium status of good whiskey, whether Scottish Single Malts or Blends, American Bourbon, Irish Pure Pot Still and Single Distillery whiskies, etc.

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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Danmag » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:50 am

I have mixed feelings about this, I would support any move to bring binge drinking under control, but I'm not sure this will work since it doesn't really affect supermarkets. The people who will be doing the drinking in this way will carry on as they have been and go to the supermarket and buy budgie booze there then drink it before they go out. So they are half cut even before they get to a bar.
Willie J.J. remember the Cardhugate Affair? It was the S.W.A. who took a very strong stand against Diageo then, hardly the thing you do to your paymaster.
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby borgom » Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:52 pm

Found on the net from the SWA (http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/swa/fil ... ices09.pdf) - "In a challenging market, an additional 90p a bottle on today's typical price will do nothing to support the communities that rely on the industry."
Hmmm, like the communities that have/will suffer from recent Diageo decisions... and i'm sorry but a 90p increase is nothing unless your talking about the kind of spirit that people buy for only one reason - drinky drunky! Who do they think they are kidding?
There may be valid arguments against the minimum pricing but "damaging Scotch" doesn't seem to be one of them - damaging a few companies bottom lines is closer to the truth.
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Whiskytaster » Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:57 pm

The issue is whether it will trigger tit-for-tat protectionism by other countries who will find sales of their products in Scotland affected.

The fear is that they may feel that because their cheap alcohol will be hardest hit by these measures, they should 'hit back' against Scotch with tarrifs of thier own.
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Anster » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:33 am

[quote="Willie JJ"]It won't of course affect anyone outside Scotland. The idea as I understand it is to make a minimum price for a unit of alcohol. This wouldn't be likely to affect malt, because it would always be above this limit anyway. However, cheap blends and other cheap spirits may be affected which is why the SWA will be upset since it is more or less run by Diageo, which produces oceans of cheap rubbish.[/quote]

True, as everyone knows, Paul Walsh is the SWA Chairman so you would expect them to respond as they have.
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Re: Minimum pricing response

Postby Alan Gold Label » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:54 pm

I'd prefer maximum pricing!
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