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Wales' "Strongbow Tax" - Everything You Need To Know


As of the 2nd March 2020 there will be huge changes to the way alcohol is sold in Wales due to the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP)

Credit - Depositphotos

MUP is a method being used to be able to set a lower threshold on price, below which no-one can sell an alcoholic beverage.

That price is dependant on how much alcohol is in each drink, with the minimum price being set in Wales as 50p per 10ml unit of alcohol.

Dubbed the "Strongbow tax", as it's impact will be greatest on high alcohol/low cost beers and ciders, in truth the new rule will effect any alcoholic drink, meaning the minimum price will depend on how much alcohol is in it, whatever your tipple of choice.

To illustrate, here are some examples:

A bottle of wine has roughly 10 units of alcohol in it, so the minimum price for it will be £5. Likewise, A bottle of whisky or vodka contains around 26 units, and so could not be sold for less than £13 


This is being done by the welsh government to help reduce deaths from reasons linked to alcohol. In Wales each year, around 1,500 people die in alcohol related circumstances, equating to around 1 in 20 of all deaths. Misuse of alcohol is also a burden on our emergency services and local councils.

In the real world this means your 20 pack of Strongbow, which currently retails at around £13 will increase to a minimum of £22 by law. Similarly, an 18 pack of Stella Artois, retailing at around £13 again will increase to a minimum of £19, due it's high alcohol percentage of 4.8%.

Credit - Sporcle

The law is very unlikely to have any detrimental impact on pubs with their prices already being well above the 50p per unit minimum. For example, a pint of beer under the new system would not be able to be sold cheaper than £1.65.

There is a large body of evidence from around the world that managing the price of alcohol is one of the best ways to get heavy drinkers to drink less. Do you think this will work here in Wales?

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