Naked Wines pulls out of Northern Territory over alcohol ‘floor price’

Australia’s Northern Territory has amended its Liquor Act meaning that booze must be sold or at least AUS$1.30 (70 pence) per standard drink, prompting one of the biggest online retailers to stop shipping to the region all together.

Naked Wines has pulled out of The Northern Territory in Australia

Known as a ‘floor price’, the move targets high-volume alcohol products, and means that a standard 750ml bottle of wine with 7.7 standard drinks will be sold for a minimum of $10 (£5.39).

Before the introduction of the floor price, the cheapest alcohol available in Darwin was said to be 30 cents (16 pence) per standard drink.

It also pushes the price of Australia’s bag-in-box ‘goon’ wines to a minimum of $27.82 for a 2-litres, NT News reports.

Naked Wines has told its customers that changes to the cost of all wine bought, and the subsequent cost of shipping, would directly impact their business, prompting their decision to pull out of the market, affecting around 600 customers.

“The difficult thing for us is that every wine has a different alcohol level,” Naked Wines wine director Mark Pollard told ABC Radio Darwin.

“So you have to have a calculation on every single wine to generate a price at what you should sell that at. Obviously that’s a big impost for us, so we couldn’t justify spending the money.”

He added: “You never know, going forward we might be able to do something, but the pretence of our whole business is to have great wine at a great price,” he said. “We just couldn’t keep our promise to the customers, so we have to pull the pin.”

So far, only Canada, Scotland and Wales have implemented a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, designed to curb excessive drinking.

Earlier this year, Scotland introduced a minimum alcohol unit price of 50 pence, six years after the law was first passed. The minimum unit price (MUP) means that a bottle of wine cannot be sold for under £4.69, a four-pack of 500ml beer cans for under £4 and a bottle of whisky for less than £14. Wales is also set to implement a 50p minimum unit pricing next summer.

As reported by Australia’s ABC, Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner said the retailer’s decision did not “make any sense”.

“We know that too many Territorians experience alcohol-related crime … that’s why we have a suite of measures, of which the floor price is one,” he said.

“We made sure that we targeted high-volume alcohol products by having that floor price in place. If you’re paying above $10, your bottle of wine isn’t going to be affected by that floor price … so I don’t understand the decision by that online retailer.”

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