Thursday, 23 September 2010

Divided we fall

Some very wise words here from Jeremy Beadles of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association on the need for the drinks trade to speak with one voice.

On duty he “would like some tax freezes please”. But what of other critical issues, such as ways of tackling cheap off-trade alcohol?

Surely this is a tricky one for the head of a group that represents producers (including brewers such as Fuller’s and St Austell) alongside retail giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“I think there’s a perception about cheap alcohol and some of it is not real,” he starts. “It is still a damn sight cheaper to buy alcohol in most of continental Europe than it is here.”

So youngsters pre-loading before hitting the pubs is a myth? According to Beadles, ‘pre-loading’ is not the issue some would have you believe.

“When you look at the level of pre-loading most people only have one or two drinks before they go out, so they are not blasted,” he says.

“There’s a small proportion who are, but does that mean we have to regulate the entire industry, the entire population – or should we find a different route?”

On that subject, Beadles is adamant minimum pricing is most definitely not the way to go. As well as, in his view, probably being illegal, it is also “simply about making alcohol too expensive for poor people to buy it”.
As I’ve often said before, the anti-drink lobby don’t care if you’re drinking in the pub or at home, they don’t care if you’re drinking Jaipur IPA or Carling, all they care is that you’re drinking at all. If different sections of the drinks trade start squabbling with each other and claiming the moral high ground, the only winners will be the neo-Prohibitionists.


  1. Sorry Mudgie,I beg to differ on
    the political zealots attitude to
    where we drink. Their laws,their
    regulations,their restrictions,
    their surveys and all sorts of
    advisory consultations are overwhelmingly loaded against the
    on trade, ie pubs and communal venues.There is absolutely no way they will clamp down on underpriced beer in supermarkets etc. In the eyes of the Political
    Elite,the pubs and clubs are an
    obstrucion to their social planning
    In the past 40 years just mention any law that further restricts the
    pubs survival and you get the same
    breed of politico waving their
    arms in unison.The isolation of
    the individual and dissolution
    of communities is nothing new in order to maintain control in a central authoritarian state.
    One serious problem,there are many
    who cannot see the dangers ,worse still ,amongst those who refuse to see.

    Saw it coming.

  2. I don't see it as any business of the State to make value judgments about on- vs off-trade consumption. And, if you want quiet, orderly city centres, surely the way to do it is to discourage the on-trade ;-)

  3. Don't worry, Anon. The nice men in white coats will be along shortly!

  4. I thought he died a couple of years ago, that bloke from You've Been Framed off of the telly?

  5. When Pete Brown was made Beer Writer of the Year last year, he made an impassioned plea for the industry to stop its in-fighting and present a united front against the neo-pros. It's a shame they haven't.

  6. And this is why I become exasperated by the easy condemnation of off-trade consumption that so often falls from the lips of CAMRA spokespersons, when I'd like to bet that the average CAMRA member consumes considerably more off-trade alcohol than the average of the population as a whole.


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