Some off-licence owners north of the border are expecting an ‘influx’ of shoppers from the Republic after the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP).
As of yesterday, alcohol pricing in the Republic is now based on the grams of alcohol it contains.
The minimum will be 10c per gram - meaning alcohol will not be able to be sold beneath that price.
The change is likely to particularly impact the price of lower-priced alcohol.
For example, a slab of 24 cans of beer must now cost at least €40 in a supermarket - whereas they were often sold for promotional prices of €20 or even cheaper previously.
Some retail groups here have voiced their concerns that retailers here will take a hit as MUP is being introduced in the Republic before the North.
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, for example, says it has no objection to MUP in principle.
However, they argue it’s a “real problem” that the measure isn’t happening alongside a similar move in the North.
A slab of beer may now just be half the price in Newry as it is in nearby Dundalk.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show reporter Barry Whyte, Seamus McNamee - the owner of the First and Last off licence in Jonesborough, not far from Newry - says they do now expect to see more customers from the Republic.
He said: “In the short-term, it will be good.
“We won’t see a big influx until maybe St Patrick’s Day and Easter. A lot of our business is southern Irish anyway, but I’d like to think we’ll see a bigger influx.
“People are going to be saving €12-13 on a slab of beer.”
That said, Seamus thinks most off licences in the Republic won’t be impacted by the changes - and it’ll likely just be people closer to the border who might make the trip across to save a few euro.
Despite that, some retailers in the Republic are welcoming the new rules - with independent off licences suggesting they will now finally be able to compete with supermarkets.
Michael Finnegan, who owns Camelot off sales in Dundalk, told Barry it won’t be a major change for smaller businesses.
“There’s only a couple of products that will have to increase - the majority of stock… would already be over the minimum price.
“It has made it a level playing field, as it’s stopping the multinationals and supermarkets from selling beer, wine and spirits at below cost.”
He said prices have always been cheaper across the border, and he doesn’t look at that as a problem - instead, it’s simply “a trading issue we have to deal with”.