The price of some wine brands and own-brand products would rise under the controversial measure

The price of some wine brands and own-brand products would rise under the controversial measure

Drinks producers have attacked the UK government’s plans to introduce a minimum price as  “misguided” and “regressive”. 

The Coalition is proposing to introduce a GBP0.40 (US$0.63) minimum unit price and will also consult on banning multi-pack deals, as part of a wider alcohol strategy unveiled today (March 23). But, drinks companies and trade groups have questioned the plans.

Andrew Cowan, country director, Diageo GB said: “The intended introduction of pricing intervention is misguided and appears to run counter to the Responsibility Deal set out by this government.

"Rather than being a targeted intervention, it simply hits consumers hard, particularly those on low incomes.”

Heineken also spoke out over the announcement. “We don’t believe a policy of minimum unit price will be successful in deterring those who misuse alcohol,” a spokesman said.

The government is expected to consult on minimum pricing this summer, with a view to it becoming law in 2014.

But, the Heineken spokesman said the company was “dissapointed” that the consultation is limited to just price instead of the “principles” of the policy and “whether it will be successful or indeed what alternatives could be considered”.

Accolade Wines, whose brands include Hardys and Banrock Station, branded unit pricing as a “regressive measure”.

“It will not effectively address the problem it seeks to solve, while at the same time penalising the majority of responsible drinkers in the UK,” said James Lousada, Accoalde’s European general manager.

Cider producers also criticised the proposal as well as the way the Government had handled the announcement. Henry Chevallier, Chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), said: “The NACM recognises that we must find a solution to alcohol misuse, but minimum unit pricing is not a silver bullet, therefore a commitment to implement it without debate is not how we expect government to operate.”