Monitoring cheap alcohol

Despite alcohol being our most harmful drug in society, it is often sold at rock-bottom prices. Price promotions for alcohol are everywhere.

It is important to understand and monitor the price of alcohol in your community. The lower the price, the higher the likelihood there will be alcohol problems in your neighbourhood. Low prices are often found in areas where there is a high number of alcohol outlets, as they need to compete by price to win the sale.

Ideally, we would like the Government to require alcohol companies to submit their sales data. Other countries already require this. But until this happens, we need New Zealanders to keep a close eye on the price of alcohol in their communities. Especially any alcohol sold at very low prices.

Please report to us the price of the cheapest alcohol found in your neighbourhood. This will often be from supermarkets, bottle stores or online. Cheap alcohol may also be on promotion (e.g. happy hours) in bars, pubs, as well as sports and other clubs.

To determine if a product is 'cheap', you need to know how many standard drinks it contains. By law, each alcohol product label must display the number of standard drinks it contains. This means that you can calculate the price of alcohol per standard drink – by taking the retail price and dividing it by the number of standard drinks it contains. The packaging should also list the number of standard drinks in each container.

Below are some reference products – we believe that prices under $1.40 per standard drink can be considered cheap, and those under $1.20 per standard drink are very cheap. Research shows that heavy drinkers, including young heavy drinkers, are more likely to buy cheap alcohol.


We have prepared a form for you to collect data on the prices of cheap alcohol in our neighbourhood. Please note: do not put your safety at risk to collect data. Do not enter any alcohol outlets or bars if you feel unsafe.


Please use the form and submit it to us once completed. If possible, take a picture of the respective product, including the price label and product label containing information on alcohol strength (e.g. 5% beer) or number of standard drinks it contains.

An example of a completed form is shown below.

Name of product

Product or package size

Retail price[1] ($)

Number of standard drinks (per package/ individual product)[2]

Price per standard drink

Cheap beer A

18 pack x 440 ml




Cheap beer B

18 pack x 330 ml




Cheap beer C

12 pack x 330 ml 




Cheap wine

750 ml




Cheap cask wine

3 litres




Cheap RTD A

1.25 litre




Cheap RTD B

12 pack x 250ml




Cheap Spirits

1 litre




Cheap light-Spirit

1 litre




Cheap Cider





[1] Retail price as at 1 July 2020

[2] For packages e.g. 12-pack, multiply the number of standard drinks per product by the number of products in the package.