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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Sunday, 4 October 2009

Tokyo* Supermarket Sweep

I know I know... I should be blogging about Nanny State. But I need to try some first, and I'm a bit busy.

Anyway, I was just very briefly revisiting Tokyo* because I'm giving it a mention in a big piece I'm writing about beer marketing for a Sunday newspaper magazine (yep, you read that right - one of the biggest papers in the UK has actually commissioned an article on beer).

Anyway, for this, I wanted to do an accurate comparison of pence per unit of Tokyo versus other stuff. I've seen Brew Dog and others do comparisons of how much booze you can get for the same £9.99 price tag as a bottle of Tokyo, but I don't think anyone has worked out the precise unit comparison I may be wrong - apologies if you have and I missed it).

Anyway, I found an alcoholic unit calculator, looked at some offers on supermarket websites, and got a bit more absorbed than I needed to for the feature I'm writing. So I know Tokyo* is old news and has been blogged to death, but I thought I'd share it here - if you live in the constituency of one of those Scottish MSPs who signed the motion against it, please feel free to copy this to them:
  • One £330 ml Tokyo* contains 6.1 units - at £9.99, that's 0.61 units of alcohol per £1
  • Blue WKD is in Asda - three four packs for a tenner. Even with the alcohol level having been recently lowered to 4.5%, that's 1.4 units per £1
  • The standard price in Tesco for 24 x 284ml bottles of Stella is £10. At 5%, that works out at 2.39 units per £1
  • Promotional prices on Stella over the last 12 months have reached as low as the equivalent of 67p per pint. That's 4.5 units per £1
  • Tesco Currently has a really nice offer on a lovely-looking Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc - six bottles for £23.52. The wine is 12.5%, so that's 2.84 units per £1.
  • Morrisons is currently flogging Grants Whisky for £12.99 a litre. At 40%, that's 3.07 units per £1
  • Even Carling - hardly a drink that's going to get you smashed in a hurry - gives you more bang for your buck - Sainsburys is flogging 15 x 440ml cans for £10 - at 4.1%, that's 2.7 units per £1.
So let's summarise that, in order of units per £1:
Tokyo* - 0.61
Asda Blue WKD - 1.4
Tesco Stella (normal price) - 2.39
Sainsburys Carling - 2.7
Tesco Kiwi Sauvignon - 2.84
Morrisons Grant's whisky - 3.07
Morrisons/Asda/Sainsburys Stella (promo price) - 4.5

WKD gives you more than double the alcohol for your £1. A fairly common offer on white wine (I checked out several other deals that came in similar) gives you 4.5 times as much alcohol per £1 as you get from Tokyo*. When it's on promotion - which it will be again for Christmas - Stella gives you 7.5 times as much alcohol per £1 as Tokyo does. If you want to get wankered cheaply, Tokyo* is rubbish - it's worse than even Carling.

Of course, it's not all about price. There are issues about it being one serving, and about general perceptions of how strong beer should be, versus wine or spirits, based on how we normally drink them.

But pricing comparison is crucial because the anti-alcohol lobby that is attacking Tokyo is the same anti-alcohol lobby that wants minimum pricing and duty increases on alcohol... because they think higher prices will deter binge drinking.

And with that feat of deduction, it would be nice if the neo-prohibitionists would finally disappear up their own arses.

Or at least admit the total and utter logical incoherence of their argument.

15 comments:

Woolpack Dave said...

Well said that man.

Which paper? I'll buy it.

Rabidbarfly said...

Couldn't have said it better myself...no really, I'm rubbish at this blogging thing. Anyone up to lobby for smaller measures than 3rd of a pint?

red dave said...

How much is cider per unit of alcohol. And by cider i mean the hellish sweet wretched putred mank they sell in those two liter brown bottles. Not actual cider as drank by men with beards who look like there at a Worzel Gummidge reenactment.

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com said...

Look forward to the article. Funnily enough was watching a nanny state discussion earlier on today, it seems to be popping up across so many disciplines and industries.

Let's hope common sense prevails over strong beers. Nice to also see a hops discussion on Radio 4 and lots of regional press last few weeks praising the resurgence of micro breweries

Curmudgeon said...

Morrisons Strong Dry Cider, 6.0% ABV, £2.89 for a 3-litre bottle, so 6.2 units per £. You might get an even better deal on the likes of Frosty Jack's :-(

Moonbox said...

Surely the quest is now on for the maximum units per £. I think it rests with Curmudgeon at 6.2 per £.

Ben

Showbizguru said...

Can I just say that I'm embarrassed to say I paid 12 quid for a bottle of Tokyo in The Rake the other night and that's only because I was pissed and I wanted to see what all you bloggers who were GIVEN the stuff were on about.
It was nice - but not 12 quid nice.
After some comments I've read about them can I say the staff were nice as well, particularly the cropped-haired young lady who was helpful and informative.
And as she persuaded me - a tight ex-Northern git - to part with 12 quid for a bottle of beer she's doing her job extremely well as well!

Melissa Cole said...

Well worked out Pete, and a very good point indeed, which paper are you writing for? x

Cooking Lager said...

I think you need to publish a bang per buck for all the grog on offer.

Supermarkets tell you the price per 100ml but leave the bang per buck for the punter to work out. We ought to tell the supermarkets to show the price per unit!

Pete said...

I'll be talking about the newspaper piece once they've actually agreed on the text and I know it's definitely running - I've done this before and then it's been cut, and I look like an idiot.

CL, thought you'd get into the bang per buck comparison. I can think of no one better qualified than you to take what I've started and fill it out into a work of twisted lout-fuelled genius.

Curmudgeon said...

Cookie, I'm sure the people to whom bangs per buck is important have got it all worked out already.

That, of course, is the downside of putting unit information on bottles and cans.

Green Fields said...

I'm from Australia and we're facing similar crap from our "Liquor Licensing". This is the most intelligent piece of journalism on the topic that I've ever read, hope it gets published here. Thank you for putting it all in persepective for these unhappy fascist wowsers.

dancave said...

i found 8.2 units in a bottle of basics cider for £1.21 in sainsburys! thats got to be up there with the big Bang per buck boozy drinks.

I have a pic of if you want?

Curmudgeon said...

Getting ratted on 4.1% cheapo cider might be hard work, though...

dancave said...

Curmudgeon Ha! you have obviously never lived in a deprived city centre. or if you have you must have been blind!

Just kiddin' no offense.