Alcopop sales drop; your government drinks to that

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You might recall, in 2008, an ‘alcopops’ tax that was implemented with the aim of “reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol harm”. In a nutshell what this meant was the price of your Smirnoff Mule went up while the ‘goon’ likes of cask wine remained cheaply available. Basically the price hike in alcopops preached to the converted (ie: those who can afford a Smirnoff Mule in the first place are more likely to be more responsible about their drinking compared to your average cask wine drinker). Not so surprisingly, the Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) released data this week that shows a 35.8% drop in alcopop consumption while also revealing there has been a sharp increase in wine consumption.

“It’s no surprise that wine consumption has gone up,” said APC spokesperson John Fitzgerald. “It’s not taxed by alcoholic content, which means cask wine is often cheaper than soft drink. With cut-price booze so widely available, it’s no wonder our nation has a drinking problem.”

Still, Fitzgerald insists, “We’ve always known that increasing price can be an effective tool to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol harm [and] we have an example of this tool working in practice,” referring to the aforementioned drop in alcopop consumption.

What Fitzie and his cohorts fail to mention is that this is likely to be more an incentive driven by finance than concern for public health, because we all know that a cheaper booze alternative is always going to be available, even if it means resorting to Passion Pop.

The Australian Government will be reviewing Australia’s taxation in October and will likely impose higher drinking taxes according to volume of alcohol in a beverage product. It’s enough to drive you to drink in spite, really…