Date PostedJune 5, 2013

Multi Buy Ban in Scotland Results in Sales Drop

Since October 2011 a ban was introduced on multi-buy alcohol in Scotland and restrictions implemented also changed the way alcohol could be displayed and promoted.

Reports now indicate that the amount of alcohol sold in Scottish shops has fallen by 2.6 per cent in the year since the ban was introduced.

Research has shown that since the multi-buy ban was initiated, there was a significant decline in the sales of alcohol overall within liquor stores. The report by NHS Scotland and Glasglow University claims that the Alcohol Act in Scotland was to blame for a 4 per cent drop in wine sales and an 8.5 per cent drop in pre-mixed drink sales. The researchers also considered in their research all the reasons for the significant decline.

This article from explains more about the research:

_67715004_000143284-1Dr Jim Lewsey, from the University of Glasgow and co-author of Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy, said: “Similar declines were not observed in England and Wales, where the Alcohol Act does not apply.

“The possible impacts of other factors, such as changes in income and alcohol prices, were taken into account.

“This provides evidence that the effects were associated with the act and not some other factor.”

Incentive removed

Mark Robinson, from NHS Health Scotland and study lead, said some retailers had responded to the multi-buy discount ban by selling individual bottles of wine for £3.33 instead of offering three bottles for £10.

He said: “However, the incentive for people to buy more alcohol than they may otherwise have bought was removed and wine sales decreased.”

Read more at:

There has always been a belief that in general multi-drinks sales and promotions such a buy-one-get-one-free promotions and “happy hours” contribute to alcohol fuelled problems because they encourage people to binge drink, but there hasn’t been much evidence to cement this claim.

According to researchers although the amount of alcohol sales declined since the ban, there was still an extremely high percentage of alcohol consumption among the population and alcohol is still being sold at low prices.

According to researchers, evidence indicates that implementing a minimum unit pricing law would enhance the effectiveness of the Alcohol Act and would also prevent the sales of cheap alcohol, which are high strength and often the root of alcohol fuelled problems.

The alcohol industry has however disputed the reports claims and the researcher’s interpretation of the figures. The post goes on to explain:

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “This report fails to show any evidence of the impact of Scotland’s ban on multi-buy restrictions on tackling alcohol misuse.

“The drop in sales of 2.6% attributed to the ban was described as ‘statistically non-significant’ by the researchers.

“The report acknowledges that there is currently no direct evidence linking multi-buy promotion to alcohol consumption in the off-trade.”


Whether or not drinks promotions and multi-drink sales are banned, there are always going to be drinkers that will “overdo it”. Drinkers should always practice responsible drinking, whether drinks are cheap (or free) and “responsible” drinking means drinking in moderation, ensuring that you do not endanger yourself or others by engaging in misconduct fuelled by alcohol.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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