An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Developments in the minimum pricing debate

I do like to follow developments in the minimum pricing debate, even if the arguments made tend to be repetitive and dull. One news story got me a thinking. You can read it here.

Local minimum pricing. Umm. Isn't the flaw obvious? People have cars and if some people are prepared to hop onto a ferry and go to France for some cheap grog, driving to the next town will not be an issue.

Have no fear, if no one else does it, I will. That is knock up a website where you can stick your postcode in and find out where the nearest cheap grog shop is. I promise.

If the supermarkets don't get in on the act, there might even be market for big warehouse booze shops dotted about. All depends if Tesco have the guts to open one or not. Guts to ignore the moral minority. If they don't someone will.

It only has to be outside "state lines" to be legal. Time to watch Smokey and the Bandit, maybe for tips on transporting cheap lager across state lines.

Would I open a warehouse grog shop? It means running a business and working. There may be an opportunity to buy land previously fairly worthless that has scope to gain value when it's use as a cheap grog shop becomes apparent. Why sit and be a wage slave when there's an easy quid to be made?

This is one element of the minimum price debate worth following, idiot politicians distorting the market. I follow it avidly.

Pictures? A dedicated cheap grog shop in Germany, to guide us towards the future. They may not have minimum pricing, but their "offies" are a tad more impressive than our local Threshers.


Curmudgeon said...

Well, "local option" within the UK would be completely ludicrous as people would just be going over local authority boundaries. Half of me wants them to have a go as the amount of egg that would end up on their faces would lead to much Schadenfreude.

And, of course, it is completely illegal under competition law. Minimum pricing schemes for tobacco have been thrown out on those grounds - and we all know the Righteous hate fags even more than drink.

Cooking Lager said...

God hates fags aswell, by all accounts. I saw some American nutcases on the TV with banners and everything.

I have a suspicion that the route of greater "localism" & the "big society", motivated by a need for lower central government funding to local councils could see all manner of daft "local laws".

I'm looking foward to a booze cruise to Tipton.

Séan Billings said...

What I don't understand is why they think the poor are the problem. Any kind of artificial price inflation, even a duty increase, only really affects the cheaper end of the market. Fifty pence on a bottle of expensive wine is easily absorbed by someone used to paying £15 already, while twenty pence on a can of cheap supermarket lager is a big hike.

Minimum pricing focusses the increases entirely on the value end, ensuring that your bottle of Chateu Snootypants Burgundy or Brewdogs latest Double Imperial Wood Aged Sour Saison (with a smoked badger turd in every bottle) will not go up by a penny, but the filthy working class oik will have to pay significantly more for his slab of Carling.

The lower waged among us are also less likely to have a car to stock up on slabs of cheap lout at the Cooking Lager Superoffie just in the next county, but I'm sure there will be community spirited individuals with white vans willing to brave the oppressive forces of the local council and sell cheap booze at a slight markup in a council estate near you.

Curmudgeon said...

Couldn't agree more, Séan.

As said by John Stuart Mill, ‘Every increase of cost is a prohibition, to those whose means do not come up to the augmented price; and to those who do, it is a penalty laid on them for gratifying a particular taste… To tax stimulants for the sole purpose of making them more difficult to be obtained is a measure differing only in degree from their entire prohibition; and would be justifiable only if that were justifiable.’

Btw, where can I get that BrewDog stuff with the smoked badger turd? £500 a bottle would be a bargain!

DaveA said...

CL you are a national treasure.

I can't be bothered to argue the minutae but you have the right idea.

Tyson said...


Looks like Local Authorities will be allowed to get round the EU competition laws on grounds of "public health". We could be soon on the receiving end of the first piece of legislation.