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Man saved €700 by buying 500 cans of Guinness on eve of minimum alcohol pricing

"I totally stocked up… that would do me for at least a year. I probably got about 500 beers"

Liveline caller purchased 500 cans of Guinness the day before minimum unit pricing was introduced. Picture: Twitter/Liveline

Paul Hyland

A man has said he saved more than €700 by buying 500 cans of Guinness the evening before new legislation for the price of alcohol was introduced last week.

On January 4, the minimum unit price of 10 cents per gram of alcohol was enacted under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.

The controversial measure sees Ireland become one of only a small number of countries worldwide to introduce a legal floor price for the cost of alcoholic drinks.

The legislation means an average bottle of wine cannot be sold for under €7.40, while a can of beer will cost at least €1.70.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Liveline programme, a man named Brendan, said he is in receipt of social welfare and the price hike would “disproportionately” affect him.

“The day before the minimum pricing, one of the smaller retailers had a special offer on Guinness. It was a 12 pack for €10,” he said.

“I totally stocked up… that would do me for at least a year. I probably got about 500 beers.”

The caller said he transported his purchase with the help of a friend and that it took them two trips in a car to get the cans home.

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Brendan said he spent roughly €400 in the off-licence that evening and he estimated that the same purchase would cost almost €1,100 on January 5.

He said he did get a “few funny looks” when we buying the cans of Guinness but for someone who is in receipt of social welfare, a €700 saving is a significant sum.

“It’s a discriminatory regulation on the poor because I don’t know if they (the government) carried out any conclusive studies that alcoholism doesn’t affect wealthy people, it only affects the lower classes. And there’s no other measures brought in to roll it out across society,” he added.

Brendan said the price increase is also affecting people’s ability to socialise at home. He said he has not been in a bar or restaurant since the pandemic began for fear of catching Covid-19.

“I only have two people into the house on a weekend, two friends. So if you want to have food, look at a sporting event and have a few beers – that is seriously curtailed for me with the current prices,” he added.

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