There’s a crisis in England, apparently — binge drinking. Specifically, the story goes, blokes and lasses are buying cheap booze at the corner store, and getting drunk even before they go out on the town. The bar owners have a solution: minimum liquor prices in grocery stores.

The introduction of a minimum price would not increase prices at pubs and nightclubs, who charge more for their drinks than off-licences and supermarkets, some of whom have been criticised for selling beer more cheaply than water.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King pub chain and brewer, one of the signatories to the letter said the easy availability of “excesssively cheap alcohol” was causing “devastating” effects across society….

Here’s the pubs’ argument:

We support a minimum unit price where it prevents too low supermarket prices whilst protecting responsible pubs.

This reminds me of labor unions lobbying for higher minimum wage – if you offer a premium service or product and compete with discount services or products and outlaw lower prices, thus drying up the room for discounters to operate.