Industry slams drinks promotions

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Diageo gb, Alcoholic beverage

The industry is taking a unique stance by cracking down on companies that run "irresponsible" drinks promotions.Trade leaders, pub companies and...

The industry is taking a unique stance by cracking down on companies that run "irresponsible" drinks promotions.

Trade leaders, pub companies and drinks suppliers are pulling together to stamp out cut-price drinks offers among some operators.

They claim a handful of irresponsible companies are giving the whole trade a bad reputation. They argue that unless the matter is resolved the trade can expect government regulation.

Tony Mair, corporate affairs director of Diageo GB, which is spearheading action, told thePublican.com: "Self-regulation is far more agreeable than being regulated by legislation. Spain, France and Ireland have just banned the advertising of ready-to-drink brands and the trade in the UK must remain alert."

Mr Mair (pictured)​ denied the move could damage the trade. "It makes good business sense," he said.

"People are going to pubs less because of the behaviour of a minority of customers. It's good for business to make it attractive for people to go out and enjoy themselves in a responsible way."

His comments follow a Publican report on bar and nightclub operator Luminar Leisure, which had been accused of encouraging speed drinking through some of its recent drinks promotions.

There were concerns the promotions that charge a flat entry fee of £3 for free Vodka Kick between 8pm and 9.30pm on a Friday night would cause more problems on the streets.

The situation was highlighted at the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) lunch earlier this week.

Addressing 1,000 industry representatives, Steve Gannon, commercial managing director of Diageo GB, challenged the industry to work together to find a solution to the problem of alcohol misuse, as public scrutiny of the drinks industry heightens.

John McNamara, chief executive of the BII, said pubs had to be seen as socially responsible if they were to win over the public and the politicians.

He said: "If you are running a 10p-a-shot promotion or a cut-price all-you-can-drink-evening then I have this advice for you - stop them now."

Presently there are no firm plans for a government crackdown, but John Grogan, MP for Selby and the chair of the liquor licensing reform panel of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, hinted that this could change in the future and echoed Diageo's and Mr McNamara's concerns.

He put forward "10 challenges from Westminster", which included a national code for retail promotions. He said: "Fixed price entry is just not acceptable to Parliament. You either develop a professional code or licensing committees will develop thousands of codes for you."

Best practice guide

The BBPA has issued a best practice guide which recommends licensees avoid running promotions that could encourage binge-drinking and lead to violence. The guide advises running any promos over a longer period of time, and suggests licensees provide food and soft drinks and avoid drinking games.

Related articles:

Luminar slammed over free drink offer (8 May 2003)

Vote!

We asked what effect you think the recent calls to end 'irresponsible' drinks promotions will have on the trade - this is how you voted:
Be good for the industry:​ 64 per cent
Be detrimental to the industry:​ 10 per cent
Won't make a difference:​ 27 per cent

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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