Legislation for a minimum unit price for alcohol is "almost certain" to meet a legal challenge, the Health Secretary has said.
Nicola Sturgeon said she is working on the basis that the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill will be contested in court, as she answered questions from Holyrood's Subordinate Legislation Committee.
The proposed law to set a floor price for alcohol has been brought back by the majority SNP administration after it failed to gain the support of opposition parties during the last Parliament.
MSPs quizzed Ms Sturgeon about why a figure for the minimum unit price is not on the face of the Bill.
Any price figure will instead be added later under subordinate legislation which would not normally be debated by the whole chamber.
Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said: "What would you say to pessimists that might think you are only waiting to put the price on at the subordinate legislation stage because you know a legal challenge is coming, and you want the law on the statute books before that happens?"
Ms Sturgeon said such an argument is "illogical" because any legal challenge would come at the point when the legislation becomes effective, by which time a minimum unit price would be set.
She said: "Whatever price is set initially, that price will not stay as set forever and it is likely to change over a period of time. I think the Bill complies with law. Any price which is set by subordinate legislation would be required to comply with law as well.
"I guess I am just not convinced it is the right approach to set the initial price in primary legislation."
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government also wants to ensure any initial price is based on the "most up-to-date evidence".
She added: "I think it is almost certain that the Bill will be legally challenged. Any piece of legislation that this Parliament passes is potentially subject to legal challenge. I work on the basis there will be a legal challenge.
"My job is to make sure that we have legislation that can meet that legal challenge, and I am confident that it can."
Using an illustrative price figure of 45p, the Scottish Government's formula would put the cost of a 700ml bottle of 37.5% ABV spirits at £11.82. A 500ml can of super-strength 9% beer would be £2.03.
Commenting after the committee, Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "The minister is effectively telling us that she expects her legislation to be dragged through the courts.
"The essence of good government is that ministers bring forward legislation that will work and will not have unintended consequences, which is why I have repeatedly warned that the lack of evidence on this issue fatally undermines the Bill's central proposition."