EU Court of Justice to deliver verdict on minimum alcohol pricing tomorrow

Foreign wine producers claim that Scottish government proposal on minimum pricing would distort the market

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg will give its final decision this Wednesday on minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland. The Scottish government in 2012 passed a decision to bring in a minimum unit price on alcohol of 50 pence, with the aim of taking control of alcoholism.

Last year, Alex Salmond, who was Scottish First Minister at the time, told GQ magazine that Scotland is a “nation of drunks” and that he is “significantly” concerned by the nation’s relationship with alcohol. “’The general reason is the availability of cheap alcohol and the cultural changes that has introduced,” Salmond argued. “When we were young, we would go out for a drink; people now go out drunk, having drunk cheap booze before. That is social change for the worse.”

The implementation of the minimum unit price legislation has been delayed by a legal challenge filed by beverage associations, which have argued that a floor on pricing isn’t an effective way to tackle excessive drinking. Foreign wine producers claimed it would distort the market. See also our cepInput on the European Alcohol Strategy 2016-2022.