Asda is selling beer at less than £0.5 a bottle as the supermarket price war blows retailer promises to tackle binge drinking out of the water.
Asda is selling 24 bottles of 0.33 l Budweiser pack for just £11 under Rollback price cutting scheme.
The supermarket reduced Budweiser price from the normal price of £15.98 as its battle with Tesco over which is the cheapest intensifies.
During the time, bargain drink deals from supermarkets have been criticized by doctors, police and the charity Alcohol Concern for fuelling binge drinking among young people, resulting in violence, disorder and ill-health.
According to drink wholesalers, Asda is selling the Budweiser at a “dramatically cheaper” price than they have to pay the big brewers.
Martin Williams, Landmark Wholesale managing director said: “In this day and age of responsible consumption and retailing, offering a major brand for under 50p a bottle completely contradicts all the messages that retailers and wholesalers are giving out.”
Meanwhile, the British government attempts to crack down on supermarkets using alcohol as a loss leader in order to bring in shoppers.
In the past months, British PM David Cameron said: “There is a problem with very cheap alcohol, alcohol being bought at convenience stores and supermarkets that people are using to what’s called <<pre-load>> before they go out. And this is a problem you just can’t ignore.
“We’ve got a situation where in some supermarkets you can walk in and buy incredibly cheap drinks, a lot of which is high strength lager, which people are using to get off their heads before they even go out. That is what we’ve got to hit.”
At that moment, Asda announced it would not sell drink at less than the price of tax – duty plus VAT. But, this does not stop Asda from using it as a loss leader to attract customers from rivals.
Martin Williams from Landmark Wholesale said the Asda price is so low that corner shops and pubs will find it cheaper to buy stocks from the supermarket than from wholesalers.
“Twenty-four bottles is a full-blown wholesale case. At a time when prices are going up in the market and brewers are putting up prices, to retail at that sort of price is crazy.”
Defending the deal, Asda says: “We are as committed to our role as a responsible alcohol retailer as we are to providing affordable deals for our customers.”