Applying a minimum price to alcoholic products will not reduce the problems associated with binge drinking in the UK.
So argued Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, the world's largest drinks company, today.
Speaking as the Guinness producer announced operating profits of £2.8bn for the last financial year, Walsh said there was "no empirical evidence that pricing curbs alcohol abuse".
He said his company was in always in discussions with ministers about how to tackle problem drinking, and would work with the government to "satisfy all its objectives in this area".
But he argued that it needed to be a targeted approach, since alcohol abuse was confined to a small percentage of the population.
"There is no point penalising a middle-aged couple who enjoy a glass of Bells scotch whisky every now and then. Making such a drink unaffordable for pensioners seems unnecessary," he said.
Diageo today reported that sales of Guinness had remained flat in the UK, while the brand's share of the on-trade beer market had risen to eight per cent, its highest level ever.
The Publican favours of a 50p per unit minimum price for alcohol, as part of its 'Make It The Minimum' campaign to help pubs compete with supermarkets.