Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Prohibition on the menu

An impressive 85 people responded to the poll on what further anti-drink measures we are likely to see in the coming years. Bear in mind that none of these are actual declared government policy at present. There was just a single Pollyanna who believed that none of this would come to pass – I’d happily bet a substantial sum of money against that eventuality.

Not surprisingly, “Prominent health warnings on all containers” topped the poll, with “Extension of duty escalator” second and “Minimum price escalator”, “Further high-strength duties” and “Ban on television advertising” following closely behind. It is maybe surprising that there has been little movement on advertising restrictions so far. Perhaps the health establishment realise that advertising doesn’t really boost overall consumption, although curbs would undoubtedly advance the “denormalisation” message. And remember, beer geeks, that the more advertising and promotion is restricted, the harder it becomes to launch new products into the market.

Some might feel that a list such as this is giving the neo-Prohibitionists ideas, but in reality all of these measures have already been mooted by them on occasion.

“Restrictions on home brewing and winemaking” got the lowest vote, and indeed there’s no prospect of that at the moment. But if we end up with a minimum price going well north of 50p/unit, the incentive to do this is going to become much greater, and it may be perceived as undermining the overall anti-alcohol strategy. So, remember, you read it here first.


  1. This is the future Mudge.


    I'm thinking of opening one in Stuckpit, so do let us know about any pubs I can knock down to build one.

    Discounts for CAMRA members that take the pledge!

  2. I'm sure Robbies would be more than happy to sell you the Unity for use as a temperance bar. Excellent position on the main drag opposite MaccyD's - you can't go wrong.

  3. The cider duty thing is interesting. I know of at least one leading brewer who thinks beer brewers should be uniting behind a campaign for precisely this, since it appears to give cider a competitive edge re: taxation.

  4. @ Boggle There is no economic argument for taxing cider less, nor taxing smaller breweries less. It is subsiding economically inefficient output and penalising economically efficient output. It is a sop to guardian reading hippies that dream of eating slugs from Hugh Fernley Wittingstalls back yard.

    There is historical precedence for penalising forms of alcohol that are deemed ruinous to public health, like gin. By that score we ought to be penalising micro brewed cask conditioned or craft keg beers lest they ruin society by increasing the number of beer geeks and real ale twats.

  5. viz homebrewing ... may be tempting fate here ... what a good wheeze for the Treasury to put duty on homebrew kits and ingredients ... after all we're all in this together .... just a thought

  6. This, is always the best argument against over taxation or varying shades of prohibition.
    As simplistic as it is true.


  7. Well, you can make beer or wine at home without using anything sold as a homebrew kit.

  8. Well, it seems like I'm the "Pollyanna" who thought "none of this would come to pass." The reason? The surge in popularity of the UKIP as published in the Sun newspaper. Hopefully, this will proved correct and if elected, and I emphasise "if," things should start to change.

  9. 'Sun newspaper' When did the Scum become a newspaper? Did I miss something?


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