Skip to content


The Tories said that minimum unit pricing (Mup) had prompted drinkers to switch from cheap drinks such as cider – the cost of which rose substantially – to stronger beverages like Buckfast.

The price of the tonic wine was unaffected by Mup’s introduction in May 2018 as it costs around £8 per bottle, more than 50p per unit of alcohol.

The PHS analysis also reported a marked increase in the volume sales of MD 20/20, another fortified wine popular with youths, and the alcopops Dragon Soop and WKD.

However cider sales fell, with “substantial declines” recorded particularly for high-strength brands. Cider was one of the drinks with the “most pronounced” price rises following the introduction of Mup, along with own-brand spirits.

Some – note some – boozers optimise for price per buzz.

Jeez, the things we have to teach those who decide upon public policy……

16 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. Calls to ban MD, Dragon Soop etc in 3,2,1…
    I remember when I were a youth that alcopops first appeared – alcoholic lemonade etc. The moral panic was palpable, but we survived the temptation.

  2. Look, just because it won’t work, the evidence says it won’t work and worldwide experience days it won’t work doesn’t mean it won’t work

    Next, rent controls

    It’s just like the Fuhrer bunker, we will triumph (despite massive evidence to he contrary) because we have “The Will”

  3. It reminds me of a tale a friend of mine told me. He was a mature student studying for a degree in something or other (probably sociology) in order to become a probation officer (or he may have already been in the probation service and they were sponsoring his degree). As he’d had a fairly lively time as a teenager and young man, partaking in plenty of less than legal substances he began to realise that most of the people he was studying under and who were working in the probation service had zero practical knowledge of drug culture, and therefore had no idea of how the people they were supposed to be overseeing and rehabilitating actually behaved, and what their motivations were. So for his dissertation for his degree he devised a survey for probation officers, which tested their knowledge of drugs – names, types, mixes, ways of taking them etc etc. He got loads of probation officers to fill these in and tabulated the results. He conclusively proved that the average probation officer knew next to nothing about drugs, often having the most ludicrously false ideas, despite them dealing with loads of clients for whom drugs were a massive part of their lives and the reason for a lot of their offending. He pointed out the pointlessness of expecting these probation staff to be able to help criminals in rehabilitating themselves when they knew so little about their clients lives. He got his degree, and his dissertation was widely read until the Home Office had it withdrawn from public view, because it was making the probation service look bad.

    This was back in the 90s, so nothing changes much. The middle class types who infest government/higher education/civil service life have very little real knowledge of how the underclass actually function. They make very sure that sort of thing is kept very much at arms length. But of course they definitely know whats best for the proles anyway.

  4. I spent lockdown making perfectly drinkable country wine, after all my other hobbies were stopped at gunpoint.

    Many of them using ingredients i foraged on walks.

    I estimate, that, ignoring capital cost, which isn’t much I can make 16% wine for about £1 a bottle.

    Now your typical alcoholic pleb might lack the motivation, but put prices up enough and some of them will start their own production.

  5. I thought the purpose of minimum alcohol pricing was to increase the profits of the big brewers. I didn’t expect Buckfast to be among the winners

  6. Now your typical alcoholic pleb might lack the motivation, but put prices up enough and some of them will start their own production.

    ISTR that the Nordics with ultra-high booze taxes also have rather high death rates from home-brew (or maybe home-distillation) poisoning.

    Of course, it’s hard enough to get our politiscum to even consider first-order effects; second- or third- order just don’t exist in their world.

  7. Alcohol is very much something that ‘oils the wheels’ as far as life in Scotland (existing) is concerned (assuming of course you’re not a member of the Wee Frees). Norway/Denmark without the civilising (tight arse) social constraints. Pure coincidence I served my apprenticeship in the Highlands, only to retire to a bleak corner of Dartmoor in sight of Buckfast Abbey. Have tried Buckie (once) but am thankfully fortunate enough to enable a constant supply of Speyside’s finest.

  8. Jim: Reminds me of a Labour councillor I worked with: “I know about the working class, I studied them for my degree”.

  9. While not a boozer per se, I do enjoy the occasional tipple. And because I don’t have a large paycheck to play with after the government has got done with it, I will optimize my purchases accordingly. Kracken rum is high alcohol %, and also costlier than other rums, but since it only takes half a shot in my drink to achieve the desired effect, the bottle lasts longer. /shrug I do the math and buy accordingly. If my favorite cider got a whole lot more expensive, I’d switch to something cheaper. If that happens to be stronger, so be it. Idiots.

  10. Daniel – may I ask what you’ve been using to make wine? Is it OK?

    When I was a youngster my old man made his own for a while but found that it was not radically cheaper than supermarket plonk and nowhere near as tasty. Plus one batch of damson wine went a bit explosive… But he wasn’t foraging (apart from the damsons).

    A chum of mine used to spend a lot of time in Bulgaria, where most vilages have one chap with a still to make rakia. Apparently the main risk is the still blowing up, rather than poisoning yourself.

    If you’re in the UK, Aldi has some surprisingly decent spirits at rock bottom prices.

  11. Bernie: We bought a small bottle of Buckie on a visit to the Abbey. I wish now that we had bought more of the Belgian beers they stocked instead. It does make you wonder about the Scots, or particularly the Weegies.

  12. Didn’t they also find in Scotland that faced with higher booze prices addicts dropped spending on other things, like food, leading to worse health outcomes. All of which they were warned about before bringing in the minimum pricing

  13. I remember a couple years ago going up to visit family in Scotland, not long after they brought in the minimum pricing. Stopping off in Carlisle to pick up a few things in the supermarket, I couldn’t fathom why all the aisles seemed to be chock full of booze, or why all the shoppers had trolleys packed to the gunwales with slabs of beer.
    Did pick up a bottle of Buckfast on another occasion for the Aunt and us to try. Lets just say you’d have to be drunk to drink it. If you want cheap hooch just to get wasted, then fermenting your own is easy enough to do – apple juice (or other fruit juice),sugar and yeast will get you there. The right sort of yeast and will get you a drink anywhere up to 12-18% alcohol.

  14. MC rough recipe is, for 1 gallon of wine
    1.5kg fruit (almost anything, sloes, hawthorn berries, gorse flower, blackberries, tomatoes, bananas, pineapple whatever you can find or is cheap)
    1kg sugar
    500g raisins.
    Boiling water to make up to one gallon.

    Place roughly chopped fruit and raisins in bucket. Add boiling water to 1 gallon. Once cool add a spoonful of pectolase (optional) and leave 24 hours. Add 1 crushed campden tablet (optional). After 24 hours add yeast and a multi vitamin tablet (or mixed yeast and nutrient from Wilko’s). Cover loosely aid stir vigorously daily. After one week decant into a Demi John. Leave until no bumbling and decant to another Demi John. Leave to clear, treat with a campden tablet, decant a final time and then bottle.

    The tomato wine was interesting, the gorse, blackberry and pineapple excellent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *