'Tesco could still sell booze below cost'

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Last week Tesco declared it was prepared to stop selling alcohol below cost price and would back the imposition of minimum prices. But a spokesman...

Last week Tesco declared it was prepared to stop selling alcohol below cost price and would back the imposition of minimum prices. But a spokesman for the supermarket giant said its pledge would mean little change. "Selling below cost is not our policy at the moment. But it is an extremely competitive market so there are times when selling below cost would occur." Suppliers have told Financial Mail that supermarkets seldom lose money on promotions. "Prices are meticulously planned with suppliers so everyone knows that you can hammer down prices by cutting corners, increasing volumes and keep profits at a similar level," said one supermarket source. - Mail On Sunday

Greene King is to invest in its Belhaven brewery to ramp up production at the Dunbar plant. Belhaven, owned by Suffolk-based Greene King since 2005, is also reshuffling its management team as it seeks to continue its expansion in the ale market. In several changes at the top of the firm, Jim Young, who joined Belhaven in 2001 from Scottish & Newcastle, has been promoted to managing director of Belhaven's drinks distribution business, replacing Bill Hughes, who will continue to work with the firm in a consultancy capacity. - Scotsman

John Gilbert, founder and owner of the Hop Back Brewery in Salisbury, Wiltshire, says he can see no future for his business. "We're caught in the middle between the small brewers and the big boys," he says. Last year, his brewery made a £130,000 loss, having paid £1.3m in duty. He says if he had brewed less beer he would have qualified for the 50 per cent duty rate and made a £400,000 profit instead. "The whole thing is crazy," he says. "If I'd have stayed small, I would have been much better off." - Daily Mail

There is a new kind of arms race. Brewers large and small around the world are desperate to find technologies that will let them produce beer in a more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way. In the past, a green pint was a novelty to drum up trade on St Patrick's Day. Today, it is a serious business as brewers attempt to produce beer that is environmentally sound. Some have tried wind power, others solar energy to make their beers. Progress has been impressive, but there is still much to do. Hopefully it won't be too long before our leading beer brands can genuinely claim to sell green beer on the 364 days of the year other than St Patrick's Day. - Sunday Times

A pub has provoked outrage after inviting gays to an Elton John tribute night - but warning: "No mincing". The sign at the Cross Keys in Bedworth, Warwickshire, read: "This Saturday!! Elton John (tribute). Gay's welcome but no mincing." Yesterday Twitter had thousands of postings from those angered by the sign. Landlord Anthony Bartle said: "Our bar manager is gay and he was the one who did the sign. If we've offended anyone then we're sorry." The pub has now taken the sign down. - Sunday Mirror

Britain's Got Talent favourite Janey Cutler says she's been banned from singing in public by killjoy television bosses. James Leggate, owner of the Victoria bar in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, said: "Every Monday afternoon she'd get up and sing the Edith Piaf classic Je Ne Regrette Rien ​and then sit down. But she said she wasn't allowed to sing because of the show." A spokeswoman for Britain's Got Talent denied they had banned the feisty 81-year old great-granny. She added: "What we might say is to be careful there are no unofficial recordings that could be posted on the internet." - Daily Star

The girl banned from every pub in Britain has revealed the shocking scale of her drinking - eight pints of lager, a bottle of white wine and a dozen vodka shots every night. Jobless Laura Hall, 20, drinks herself into a stupor, often making herself sick just so she can keep going. Laura, the first person in Britain to receive a nationwide "booze Asbo", was back in court last week after admitting breaching the ban. She says: "I want to stop so much but I can't. Now I've given up on ever changing. I just go to pubs where no one knows me." - Daily Mirror

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