By Ian Neubauer

The RTD hike tax has backfired, according to a Nielsen ScanTrak liquor survey that shows RTD sales have dropped 40 per cent in the last month, while sales of straight spirits have climbed 20 per cent.

The data was released yesterday by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA), which said the sharp spike in the sales of full bottle spirits show the unintended consequences of the tax hike.

“The consumers were always going to swap to cheaper products, and the tax hike made spirits more cost effective,” said DSICA information and research manager, Stephen Riden, adding that consumers who mix their own spirits take greater risks as they no longer have a known quantity of alcohol in their drinks. “Especially if other people are mixing drinks for them,” he said.

Interviewed yesterday on ABC radio, Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon rejected suggestions that the policy had backfired.

“These figures show an increase in the sale of some other products, but even the industry admits that these figures show an overall decrease of one million spirit drinks sold in just two weeks,” she said.

In related news, RTD manufacturer Independent Liquor has been forced into a strategic overhaul as a result of the 40 per cent sales slump, The Australian Financial Review reported

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The Shout Team

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