Taxing Alcopops as Distilled Spirits = Less Underage Drinking
European Data Makes Strong Connection
This data is based on the experience of three European countries-the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany - that have increased taxes on alcopops out of concern over underage drinking. Each of these countries has experienced dramatic reductions in alcopops consumption, as well as in underage drinking more generally.
- In the United Kingdom, once alcopops were properly classified as distilled spirits in 2002, prices increased dramatically. Alcopops sales then dropped by 43 percent over four years.
- In Switzerland, the government created a new alcohol category to address youth consumption of alcopops; the tax increased to four times that of spirits. Following this increase, imports of alcopops dropped by about 60 percent.
- In Germany, in 2004, the government also created a new alcohol classification and increased alcopops taxes over spirits. The following year, alcopop sales dropped a whopping 75 percent. Most importantly, alcopop consumption went down 50 percent among teenagers because, according to one survey, “alcopops became too expensive.”