The Impact of a Minimum Unit Price on Wholesale Alcohol Supply Trends in the Northern Territory, Australia
The Northern Territory (NT) Government introduced a minimum unit price (MUP) of $1.30 per standard unit of alcohol (10g pure alcohol) explicitly aimed at reducing the consumption of cheap wine products from October 2018. This study aimed to assess the impact of the NT MUP on estimates of beverage-specific population-adjusted alcohol consumption using wholesale alcohol supply data.
Interrupted time series analyses were conducted to examine MUP effects on trends in estimated per capita alcohol consumption (PCAC) for cask wine, total wine and total alcohol, across the NT and in the Darwin/Palmerston region.
Significant step decreases were found for cask wine and total wine PCAC in Darwin/Palmerston and across the Northern Territory. PCAC of cask wine decreased by 50.6% in the NT, and by 48.8% in Darwin/Palmerston compared to the prior year. PCAC for other beverages (e.g. beer) were largely unaffected by MUP. Overall, PCAC across the Territory declined, but not in Darwin/Palmerston.
With minimal implementation costs, the Northern Territory Government’s MUP policy successfully targeted and reduced cask wine and total wine consumption. Cask wine, in particular, almost halved in Darwin/Palmerston where the impact of the MUP was able to be determined and considering other interventions.
Implications for public health
Implementation of a minimum unit price for retail alcohol sales is a cost-effective way to reduce the consumption of high alcohol content and high-risk products, such as cheap cask wine.