Scottish wholesalers have reported shifts from budget alcohol to mid-market alternatives following the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in May.

JW Filshill retail sales director Craig Brown told RN sales of products such as 2l Strongbow and 660ml Peroni have risen because of the legislation. “Our analysis shows customers are shifting away from Frosty Jack’s or White Lightning to Strongbow as the prices have become expensive. Wine is another category on the up. 

“Also, bigger 660ml bottles of brands such as Peroni have seen a 30% year-on-year increase.
Alcohol sales for our Keystore retailers have grown by up to 10% because MUP has created a pricing parity with major multiples.”

Mr Brown added overall alcohol volume sales for Filshill had reached double-digit growth. “Customers don’t really see sense in going to a big supermarket if a nearby convenience store is charging the same price for alcohol,” he said. 

Meanwhile, United Wholesale Grocers managing director Amaan Ramzan said he has seen similar trends. 

“It’s too early to provide specific figures, but we’ve seen a shift from white cider to general apple cider. Wine and spirit sales have also increased, due partly to MUP,” he added.

The increases come as reports in The Sun claim health secretary Jeremy Hunt is considering plans to introduce legislation similar to MUP for England. Commenting on the reported plans, Harj Gill, of Select & Save the Windmill, in Rubery, Birmingham, said: “We can be more competitive with the multiples if MUP is introduced in England, but my worry is an overall decline in alcohol sales.

“Customers are always after value for money and they may be discouraged from buying alcohol if they have to pay more.”

MUP was introduced by the Scottish government to tackle binge drinking. Under the legislation, alcohol cannot be legally sold for less than 50p per unit.