A couple of months ago, I reported on plans by the Portman Group to introduce portion control for strong beers and ciders. But it seems as though the producers of these drinks are understandably reluctant to give ground if they get nothing in return, especially asking the government to accept that, if the smaller sizes are brought in, that these drinks should be recognised as legitimate products and not subject to arbitrary local bans of dubious legality.
It’s impossible to say that one particular drink is intrinsically bad and another good, and there are plenty of supposedly respectable craft beers and ciders sold at a similar strength level. Problem drinkers will simply drink whatever comes to hand at a reasonable price to give them the effect they seek.
While I doubt whether many drinkers of Special Brew make any attempt to adhere to the government’s alcohol guidelines, I’m sure there are plenty of people for whom drinking three cans in an evening suits them better than six cans of Carlsberg Export. They may be heavy drinkers, but they’re not causing anyone any problem and that’s no more than many pub drinkers (including members of CAMRA) routinely put away on Friday and Saturday nights.
And if one of the brewers was to launch their super lager in 33 cl cans – with a proportionate reduction in price – no doubt the anti-drink lobby would then start moaning about making it more accessible and selling it at pocket-money prices.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a beer drinkers’ consumer organisation that was prepared to make a robust stand against nonsense such as this?