Monday, 25 February 2008


Craft brewers say the pub is the
best way to tackle binge drinking

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) says the best way to tackle the problem of binge drinking is to encourage young people to drink in the controlled environment of the pub. SIBA chairman Peter Amor told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme today (25 February) that his members concentrate on cask beer and that can only be consumed on pub premises.
SIBA has called up the images of Hogarth's celebrated 18th century drawings of Gin Alley and Beer Lane to stress the healthy aspects of beer drinking compared to cheap spirits. Evidence shows that many young people who engage in binge drinking often consume cheap supermarket vodka before going out to continue drinking.
Peter Amor -- who founded the Wye Valley Brewery and runs the Barrels pub in Hereford -- stressed in the interview that pub drinking is quite different to consuming alcohol in the streets bought from corner shops or supermarkets. In pubs, young people will mix with older and more experienced drinkers who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Publicans also have a duty to maintain their pubs in a legal manner and cannot allow drunken behaviour for fear of losing their licences.
The SIBA campaign comes at a time when both sections of the media, politicians and doctors are whipping up a campaign to increase the duty on alcohol in this year's Budget and to curtail what is called "24-hour drinking". Even the lofty British Medical Association last week called for both higher duty rates and a review of 24-hour drinking. The Independent on Sunday newspaper (24 February) said 24-hour pub licensing had proved to be a failure even though there is no such thing. The new licensing laws, introduced in 2006, allows pub owners to vary their hours within a 24-hour cycle but must register them with the licensing authorities. Scarcely any pubs in the country are open for 24 hours: it is mainly hotels and supermarkets that serve alcohol round the clock.
SIBA is to be congratulated for putting its collective head above the parapet and challenging the bandwagon that would penalise the overwhelming majority of sensible drinkers as a result of the behaviour of a tiny minority.


Blogger The Beer Nut said...

Surely this is just a fig-leaf, Roger? Seems to me the problem is not that people are consuming large amounts of alcohol at home or in the streets, but rather that people drink to get drunk.

It's the culture of getting smashed that needs to be addressed, not the superficial mechanics of how they do it.

25 February 2008 at 22:03  
Anonymous Paul Garrard said...

I think the beer nut is right the social issues need to be tackled. This really is not the sole responsibility of the drinks industry. Having said that I do think that cheap supermarket booze is an easy option for those willing to give into temptation. I have long felt that there should be a 'reasonable' minimum price level for all alcohol.

26 February 2008 at 13:26  
Blogger delcatto said...

Tackling the social issues is the right approach.
More and better equipped youth clubs and activities.
Better parenting skills offered objectively.
Reduce price of beers in pubs but increase it for cheaper shop bought alcohol and over 21's only allowed to buy in the fenced off alcohol section. Seeing the stack'em high 2 for 1 offers of cheap 'wife beater' does not help.
Why should sensible drinkers in pubs be punished?
Why should sensible landlords be punished?
Sadly, the easier option for the government is to increase duty on beer across the board. With the loss of local post offices, local corner shops and increasing numbers of local community pubs shutting down, the community is no longer there to police, in the wider sense of the word, drunken youths.

26 February 2008 at 20:37  
Blogger Zak said...

I just want to take issue with the whole thing about young people being the problem. As someone who has frequented drinking parlours of all types over the last 20-odd years, everyone who has ever threatened, punched or mugged me has been at least ten year my senior, and drunk to boot!

But seriously, is SIBA really "putting its collective head above the parapet and challenging the bandwagon", or is it just denying any responsibility for the current problem? Isn't everyone just blaming everyone else, and ignoring the elephant in the room?

26 February 2008 at 22:13  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home