1. Multi-buy restrictions

The following countries have implemented restrictions to multi-buy offers:

  • In 2008, Finland prohibited offering several packages or servings of alcoholic beverages at a reduced joint price.
  • In October 2011 Scotland passed legislation to prohibit multi-buy promotion of alcohol in off-licences, whilst other forms of discounting remained permitted.
  • In October 2018, Ireland enacted legislation to prohibit multi-buys (no date currently set for implementation).

Two studies have examined the impact of the Scottish legislation on alcohol consumption. One pre and post implementation study, using household shopping panel data, found no effect of the law on consumption. The other study, utilised aggregated sales data in an interrupted time series design and found the law reduced consumption by 2.6%, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.07). The differences in the results between the two studies may be due to data collection, with shopping panel data being prone to under-reporting and biases relating to representativeness.

In relation to health outcomes, the Scottish law was shown to have no impact on alcohol-related hospital admissions or deaths.

In response to the Finnish legislation, the alcohol industry reduced the price of a single can of beer so that it equalled the price of beer when sold in larger quantities at a reduced price. This strategy had the effect of reducing the price of a single can of beer by 40%. However, it is believed that the law has had the effect of making the most substantial discounts practically disappear.