In recent days, Woolworths and Coles have put out a flurry of media releases, each staking a claim to being the cheapest place to buy alcohol this summer. Coles have “declared war” on liquor prices and the Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s chain has fired back a response.
For the consumer, this all sounds like great news – an alcohol price war in the lead-up to Christmas. But for public health and safety, it’s worth thinking about the real cost of discounted drinks.
Recent estimates put the social cost of alcohol in Australia at around $36 billion a year. Approximately half of these costs come from harms experienced by people other than the drinker.