Trade hits out at binge claim

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Related tags: Drinks industry, Alcoholic beverage, The portman group

The drinks industry has hit back at accusations that it actively encourages irresponsible consumption of alcohol by promoting reckless drinking...

The drinks industry has hit back at accusations that it actively encourages irresponsible consumption of alcohol by promoting reckless drinking trends .

Drinks manufacturers have responded to a scathing attack from Alcohol Concern that heavily criticised the industry for marketing high strength drinks designed as shooters and slammers.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: "The production of slammers is an irresponsible act which incites people to drink large amounts of alcohol quickly. "These drinks remove the pleasure of drinking and reinforce the idea of simply drinking to get drunk.

"If the drinks industry perceives the consumption of alcohol as the means to get drunk fast, then how does the consumption of such drinks differ from someone taking illegal drugs to get high?"

However, drinks industry watchdog The Portman Group has responded to these criticisms by insisting that current guidelines prevent manufacturers from actively promoting reckless drinking.

The Portman Group director, Jean Coussins said: "Any product or promotion that encourages drunkenness is out of order.

"Whether a slammer is any more or less capable of this than other types of drinks could be tested by a complaint to our independent panel. The drinks industry has an excellent record of compliance with the panels' decisions."

Meanwhile, the shooter drink After Shock, 40 per cent ABV, made by Jim Beam Brands (JBB), is reviewing its marketing approach and is in the process of redesigning its website having borne the brunt of much criticism.

At the time of writing, the www.shockingtimes.com home page read: "The site is currently being reviewed. Aftershock and JBB encourage you to drink responsibly."

A spokesperson for the brand said: "All marketing material is developed in consultation with The Portman Group and JBB has always maintained that no alcohol should be consumed to excess and that's why we have taken extreme measures.

"All we can really do is make it clear that consumers ought to be responsible. I don't think the method makes a huge amount of difference."

David Jones of Scottish Courage, makers of Slamba - a 5.5 per cent ABV pre-packaged Tequila and lemon flavoured drink with easy-to-follow "slamming" instructions printed on the can, said: "Its about the fun and excitement of a night out rather than getting drunk. "At just over five per cent Slamba is the same strength as a premium packaged lager which encourages social rather than irresponsible drinking."

Related topics: Legislation

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