Wednesday 15 November 2017

Scots Booze and, errr, Frictionless Borders

This is Gretna Green.  Once there was a toll ... but now, the border is marked by those flowers on the right.  I believe this type of crossing is called "frictionless".

Pic:  google

Shouldn't laugh, I know - but what do we imagine the consequence will be of the scotties hiking the price of three litres of antifreeze industrial-strength cider from £3.59 to £11.25?  There's quite a few quid's worth of cross-border abritrage in that spread.   

You could call it a dry run for for the post-Brexit Irish.  (Dry run ... geddit?)



hovis said...

Ah Booze runners and drinks warehouses across the border's just like Dover a while back

Bill Quango MP said...

Surely Sainsbury's over the border can deliver at English prices with free delivery..

Alcohol is restricted by normal post. But only spirits as it's the hazard that they worry about.
But couriers will deliver any alcohol amount you want.

And once the " gap profit" becomes known, it will be free delivery.

Anonymous said...

My usual pint is about £1.50 per unit so what difference will it make?

The average bottle of Tesco's "Select" red may be affected but you'd have to go a bit further than the border to achieve any savings - given the cost of petrol.

Looks like we are going to get lots more of these interesting(?) articles as boredom with Brexit kicks in.

James Higham said...

Took a woman there once.

We didn't marry.

Dick the Prick said...

I don't understand why the Whisky Soc took the legal action. 50p per unit for whisky has got to be undrinkable hic!

dearieme said...

In my youth Scottish pubs were closed on Sundays. There was a healthy, or perhaps unhealthy, traffic over the border. Before my time people had often crossed to Cumberland via the Solway Viaduct. So many plunged to their deaths on the way back that the death toll contributed to the incentive to demolish the structure.

formertory said...

For almost 20 years (good years, mostly) I lived in the Northern Isles. Loved it. During the mid-nineties and certainly to the late nineties, a pair of blokes had a Montego Estate with the powerful-but-economical Perkins 2 litre diesel engine. (You may laugh but the combination made a great, economical, reliable and quick load-carrying estate). They'd ferry across to the Scottish mainland and drive pretty much non-stop to France, stock up on (mainly) tobacco and then flog back up the motorways, offload, and do it again.

Now, it may have been entirely philanthropic on their parts......... or maybe not. If they could make a worthwhile living doing that from the Northern Isles, I wouldn't want to be a cider- or whisky-selling shopkeeper anywhere within a couple of hours north of Carlisle. My Transit van is on order :-) .

As usual, politicians have completely misunderstood, or mis-defined, incentives. What'll really be interesting is if we actually Brexit, and the Scotties prostrate themselves to rejoin the EU, having to put in a hard border to keep the multiculturals out. Either that, or the Northumberland fells will fill up with dead bodies between October and May.

Steven_L said...

I wonder who will enforce the minimum prices and how they will do this? As pointed out above, it'll be very easy to ferry 'bootlegged' (or not as the case my be as UK duty will be paid) booze into Scotland.

It'll be very easy to have a 'correct' price indication on the shelf edge, but charge your favourite customers (or more to the point anyone who knows to ask for a discount) a tad less.

What about flash marked packs from south of the border? Lots of cheap cider is flash marked £1.99 or £2.99 etc. What if they have no shelf edge price and just 'negotiate' or decide based on the punter? Technically these are both Trading Standards pricing offences. But nobody ever gets done for them, nobody ever even bothers to report them to the Procurator Fiscal just to be told its not in the public interest.

I know down on the south coast of England there was (and probably still is) as massive problem with non UK duty paid spirits being sold. Some was the proper stuff, just exported and diverted etc. Some was counterfeit cheap s**te, but did the job. Some of it was methanol contaminated poison.

I don't know if they already have these problems in the central belt (probably) but it did suggest that UK duty was already high enough to create a profitable arbitrage opportunity for vodka and whisky. The amount of arbitrage on offer is about to get even bigger, which probably means more dodgy methanol contaminated drink.

There was always a lot more dodgy vodka than whisky about, but then whisky is just vodka that has been stored in an oak barrel for 3 years plus.

Demetrius said...

I once tried distilling my own hooch for reasons of economy. Putting the alcohol bit in with some of the right fruit juice came up with a sort of, repeat sort of, brandy. Anyhow it packed a fair old punch. Trouble was the neighbours complained about the smell and especially when one of the kids handed round a bottle at school.

Anoneumouse said...

Buck the system fast

Any one want to invest in a storage and distribution warehouse in Longtown or Carlisle?

Sobers said...

"Any one want to invest in a storage and distribution warehouse in Longtown or Carlisle?"

Why do you need a warehouse in England? The law is for retail prices, so presumably you can have a distribution warehouse in Scotland that sells nothing, just delivers what an England based company sells by phone and internet. A few taps on the app, a van turns up and delivers a crate of cheap cider.

Steven_L said...

A fulfilment house for cheap mail order cider? That would be hilarious. It's very difficult for the authorities to seize food too. It would have to be dangerous or counterfeit basically.

Anonymous said...

Cheap mail order cider, dangerous? Awa' and boil ya heid.

And we'll nae be drinking counterfeit neither.