Half of alcohol sold in Scotland is below impending minimum price rules

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At least half of alcohol sold in Scotland does not meet the impending minimum pricing legislation, figures show.

More than two-thirds (69%) of the volume of spirits currently sold is below the 50p per unit threshold, according to analysts Nielsen, who looked at till sales data in almost 1,200 Scottish stores.

More than two-thirds of beer (67%) is also below the threshold, followed by cider (51%).

Just 3.4% of wine sales would be impacted, Nielsen found.

Blended Scotch on average will need to rise in price by 20% to meet the threshold, while vodka will have to go up by 16.3%, according to the study.

Nielsen senior client manager Marika Pratico said: "Wine is, by far, the least impacted and so has the most to gain from minimum pricing.

"Overall, wine will need to raise prices by the least amount, thus, it becomes more affordable relative to other alcohol."

She predicted there could be an increase in cross-border alcohol shopping among the Scottish to England and Ireland, where prices would be cheaper, "mirroring what many Britons already do with the annual Calais run".

In October the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled against a challenge led by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which argued that minimum unit pricing is a breach of European Law.

The SWA is considering whether to appeal the decision at the UK Supreme Court in London.

MSPs passed legislation at Holyrood in 2012 to bring in minimum pricing, which would initially be set at 50p per unit.