Minimum unit pricing (MUP) sets a minimum price per gram of alcohol, meaning it cannot be sold for less than that price. It prevents strong alcohol being sold at low prices: aiming to target the heaviest drinkers.
One standard drink in Ireland contains 10 grammes of alcohol. The minimum price for one standard drink will now be €1. Most alcoholic drinks are already above this, especially in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
For example, a 12.5% bottle of wine has 7.4 standard drinks and from 4 January 2022, cannot be sold for less than €7.40.
Alcohol consumption predicted to decrease by 9%
In 2019, on average, every person in Ireland aged 15 and over drank 10.8 litres of pure alcohol a year – the equivalent of either 40 bottles of vodka, 113 bottles of wine or 436 pints of beer.
Alcohol consumption is expected to reduce by almost 9% following the introduction of MUP, according to research from the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.
The heaviest drinkers are expected to reduce their alcohol consumption by 15%, while people who already drink within the low-risk alcohol guidelines are expected to drink 3% less.
This should result in around 200 fewer alcohol-related deaths and 6,000 fewer hospital admissions per year.
In 2018, Scotland introduced minimum unit pricing on alcohol. Irish health officials point to data showing alcohol purchases in Scotland reduced by 7.6% in the year after it was introduced: the lowest level of alcohol sales since records began in the early 1990s.