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Beer, wine and spirits brands all saw price hikes in the last month

The price of alcoholic drinks has lept in the past month, according to this week’s Key Value Items (KVI) tracker.

Beer, wine and spirit brands all saw price hikes in the past month. A Budweiser four-pack (4x440ml) surged 7% on average in a month across the big four mults, Waitrose and the discounters, and saw a 4% price rise in just a week.

Stella Artois four-packs (4x568ml) increased in price by 4% in a month, while Strongbow and Foster’s four-packs (both 4x440ml) saw more conservative hikes of 3% and 2% respectively.

Spirits have also seen price increases. Smirnoff Premium Vodka 700ml is up by an average of 8% across the retailers in the past month. Own-label vodka is up an average of 7% and 700ml bottles of own label Napoleon brandy jumped 6% on average.

Wine price rises were less pronounced, with a 750ml bottle of Casillero del Diablo seeing a 1% price hike.

The price surges came as the government lifted its three-year alcohol duty freeze on 1 August. Levies on booze rose by 10.1% as a result. 

The freeze ended at the same time as the UK government introduced a new alcohol duty rates system. The new system taxes drinks based on abv, meaning stronger drinks face higher rates.

In June, a Wine & Spirits Trade Association spokeswoman said brands would have “no choice but to pass on these huge increases to consumers”.

This year several brands including Foster’s have been accused of ‘drinkflation’ – cutting alcohol content to reduce their tax burden, without passing savings on to consumers. 

As prices rise, data by Ipsos shows shoppers are likely to wait to buy alcohol on promotion and switch to cheaper alcoholic brands.

Shoppers will have plenty of options to choose from –  this week’s KVI shows several price cuts from promotions. In Tesco, a price cut of 55p in a week on a pack of Foster’s (4x440ml) brought the price to £4.

Lidl cut the price of its own-label prosseco at the beginning of August from £6.49 to a fixed price offer of £5.75 for a 750ml bottle.

Asda’s “great offers” include Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough this month, with a price cut from £10 to £7.50 per 750ml bottle.