Thursday 19 April 2018

Now sugar tax will push up the price of a gin and tonic

Levy not a tonic for G&T fans
Levy not a tonic for G&T fans
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The sugar tax is set to leave a bitter taste for pub customers who will see a rise in the price of their gin and tonic.

Tonic water has 9g of sugar per 100ml and it falls into the higher tax band.

A night out for pub-goers who like a vodka and coke will also be more expensive.

The tax announced in the Budget will this April see a levy imposed on soft drinks with a sugar content above 5g per 100ml.

It will be higher still for the most sugary drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

A two-litre bottle of Coca-Cola will see its price rise from €2.40 to €3.

Read more: Sugar tax adds 60c to two-litre bottle of fizzy drink

Donal O'Keeffe, of the Licensed Vintners Association, confirmed publicans are likely to pass on the cost increase to customers.

"Pricing is a matter for individual publicans, but I would expect it will be passed on," he said.

A gin and tonic can vary in price per pub and range from around €5.50 up to €12, depending on the variety and type of drink.

Teetotallers or customers who are having an alcohol-free night have long complained about the mark-up in soft drinks in pubs and this will push up the cost even further.

They can avoid the higher price by opting for slimline or diet versions.

Mr O'Keeffe said customers are increasingly looking for low-calorie mixers and "pubs will reflect the market reality".

Dr Cliodhna Foley Nolan, of Safefood, the Food Safety Promotion Board, said it is to undertake a public education campaign shortly to help people make better choices when it comes to popular soft drinks.

She pointed out, for instance, that people can view family favourite cordial or squashes, which are diluted with water, as not falling into the category of sugary drinks.

But they can be mistaken.

They will be subject to the sugar tax if they have more than 5g of sugar per 100ml.

"The bottom line is that we are saying that drinks that have sugar in them should be seen as indulgences."

While fruit juices contain valuable vitamins and minerals, they also should only be consumed in small quantities - no more than 100ml a day.

"You are better off substituting with a whole fruit," she said.

She welcomed moves to reformulate drinks to have reduced or no sugar.

A spokesman for Ribena Blackcurrant, which currently has 10g of sugar per 100ml, said it will be reduced to 4.4g before the introduction of the tax.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe defended the measure yesterday, saying it was one way of tackling obesity.

Read more: Shocking increase of childhood obesity in Ireland revealed

Irish Independent

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