Pre-mixed alcoholic drinks sales surge before tax rise

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					Pre-mixed alcoholic drinks sales surge
before tax rise
by Leanne Edmistone        May 01, 2008 12:00AM

SALES of pre-mixed alcoholic drinks have surged as customers rush to beat
price rises in the wake of the Federal Government's 70 per cent tax increase.

National retailers have reported significant sales increases in the past week, with
prices on RTDs (ready-to-drink) and so-called alcopops expected to jump up to $30 a
cartoon by the weekend.

ALH Group chief operating officer Ross Blair-Holt said there had been a "moderate
rush" in their BWS stories nationally.

"Anecdotally what we're hearing is that people are coming in and rather than buying
six (drinks), they're buying a slab," Mr Blair-Holt said yesterday.

"Some of these products are going up $20-30 a slab ... it's pretty horrific," he said.

Mr Blair-Holt said there was still a lot of stock in the market at the original price, but
this would not last long.

Dan Murphy's national merchandising manager Stephen Donohue yesterday said the
company had imposed a one-cartoon limit for the week - mainly to prevent other
retailers, rather than legitimate customers, buying up cheap stock.

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"There has been the odd person (buying more than one carton), but we're not having
people backing the ute up," he said.

Smaller Brisbane retailers have also noticed an increase in sales, but one indicated the
price rise could force customers to start buying individual spirits and softdrink to mix
their own.

Australia has the world's highest per capita consumption rate of alcopops - 15.7 litres
per year, double that of the next biggest countries, Britain and New Zealand.

The Federal Government's tax take from alcopops will increase by $500 million from
the current $800 million per year if consumption stays the same.

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