BOOKINGS: 020 8288 0314

Refreshingly fun tasting events
ThirtyFifty - Hens

Wine News

Harpers issue open later to MPs

Trade magazine Harpers and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association have issued an open letter to British MPs after a leaked consultation document showed the government plans to implement a mandatory code of practice for the drinks trade in a bid to curb our so-called binge-drinking culture. The initiative has been timed to coincide with the end of the Government's consultation on its national alcohol strategy and has been launched to ensure politicians make their decisions based on the real facts, not the scare stories pushed by anti-alcohol campaigners.The letter urges MPs to take on board the reality of alcohol consumption in the UK by setting out 5 key facts:

1. Average alcohol consumption in the UK is falling
● Per capita alcohol consumption has been falling since 2004
● The UK ranks 13th out of 27 in the EU league table of per capita alcohol consumption
● On average, Britons drink 17 % less than the French, and 19% less than the Germans.

2. The majority of people drink responsibly
● The numbers drinking over the recommended weekly guidelines fell between 2000 and 2006
● Men - down from 29% to 23%
● Women - down from 17% to 12%
● In the UK 7% of the population drink 33% of the alcohol

3. Underage drinking is declining but those who drink
consume more
● Underage drinking is down from 26% of 11-15 year olds in 2001 to 21% in 2006
● The numbers of 11-15 year olds who have never drunk alcohol are increasing: 2000 - 40% 2006 - 46%
● Weekly alcohol consumption among those 11-15 year olds who drink is up from an average of 10 units in the last decade to 11.4 units in 2006

4. Binge drinking is in decline but is more common among
16-24 year olds
● Number of people reporting binge drinking (over eight units) on at least one day in previous week is down:
● Men - 2003/4 - 23% 2006 - 18%
● Women - 2003/4 - 9% 2006 - 8%
● Among 16-24 year-olds, 27% of men and 21% of women reported binge
drinking in 2006, down from 36% and 26% in 2001

5. Laws to tackle alcohol misuse are not being enforced
● Just two people have been prosecuted and one found guilty of selling alcohol to a drunken person since the 2003 Licensing Act was introduced
● Only six people in England and Wales were found guilty of supplying alcohol to under-18s in 2006
● No-one since 2004 has been given the maximum fine for refusing to surrender alcohol in a public place or refusing a police officer's instruction to stop drinking

According to Harpers, the 26 page document proposes tough legislation placing restrictions on the labelling, promotion and sale of alcohol. These measures would include a sensible drinking message statement at point of sale and on labels, a ban on promotions that offer free drinks and proof of age if buyers look under 21.