After reviewing the IRI alcohol market data for Scotland following the first six months of the minimum unit price policy, we have been asked to respond to a report in the Scottish media regarding the impact the policy has had on the sales of Frosty Jack's. Our full statement about this is below:
We are aware of the performance of Frosty Jack's in Scotland. As a cider maker that has products from value to premium, we recognised there would be a change in the mix of our business.
We were also very clear that the impact on Scottish consumers was much more important as was whether the untested forecast model that minimum pricing represents is delivering in practice what was promised.
It is important to recognise that all white cider represents just 0.27% of total alcohol and has been in decline for many years - so the notion that it contributed to alcohol misuse on any scale was simply wrong. We shared with the Scottish Government that moderate drinkers would be disproportionately affected, that those on low incomes would be especially penalised by a regressive measure, and that many consumers would simply shift consumption.
The evidence after six months is all three are happening. Drinkers are paying 11% more for just 4% more drink. Where cider and perry in Scotland have declined it has been replaced by sales being switched into higher strength wine and especially fortified wine - products like Buckfast.
When we reviewed the market data, what struck us most was the steep decline in own-label drinks in several categories - including lager, beer, ale, cider, and spirits. These are the value products, often lower strength, enjoyed by low-income households - people that are typically lower per capita alcohol consumers. So it appears that people on lower incomes are being priced out of enjoying a drink, pointing to the regressive impact of a measure that is also forecast to reduce Government revenues.
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