By minefield, I mean a legislative nightmare as well as unnecessary costs to small businesses (odd that; aren't Tories supposed to like them?). For example, signage will be required; stock may have to be removed from sale and renegotiated on price with suppliers (more on that another time); and many products will cease to be profitable, not only for the retailer, but for the producer too. This will inevitably lead to an increase in your shopping bill somewhere along the line, whether booze is bought or not.
Current advice from retail bodies is to err on the side of caution or face crippling fines. And that's where you come in because, if you buy drink responsibly, you will still lose out.
When you go to Tesco, Sainsbo, whatever, do you get loyalty card points on tobacco? No, course not, it's bad for you, right, so it's banned. Well, hey presto! With minimum alcohol pricing, this is exactly the result that is likely to happen for alcohol too.
Firstly, if you buy a minimum alcohol priced bottle of wine for around £4.20, those four Clubcard/Nectar points you earn will represent a subsequent value, however small. If you were then to redeem that value, the saving technically drops the cost of your bottle below the minimum price. It is most certainly the end of vouchers before Valentine's Day offering 50 bonus points if you buy a bottle of Baileys, that's for sure.
There is also the issue of saving vouchers or points up for other special occasions. If, like me, you hoard your rewards for a big blow out at Christmas, you could end up buying - say - £100 worth of alcohol and redeeming vouchers/points for £80, for example. That means you are buying alcohol - any alcohol - well beneath the minimum price.
It's a grey area, but retailer associations are advising that the best course is to not award loyalty bonuses to purchases of alcohol at all. Why devise an complicated system to get round the problem when it is easier just to exclude alcohol entirely, eh?
Tesco, of course, are 100% behind minimum pricing so will happily deprive you of your Clubcard points. Others will almost be, I dunno, "nudged" into it by people who have been asking for exactly that for a long time.
Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said stopping UK supermarkets offering loyalty points would at least send the "right message".
"Most alcohol bought for consumption is from supermarkets. There is a need to send the right message on drinking behaviour by not allowing 'rewards' for buying alcohol."Minimum alcohol pricing is touted as tackling irresponsible drinkers but - as a sage website bluntly asks - why should responsible drinkers pay more?
Of course, if the true plan is to move towards a policy of denormalisation of alcohol, it's just dandy.