September 14, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
U.S. Drinks Conference 2009, Tues./Wed., Oct. 13 and 14 at the Helmsley Park Hotel, New York.
A doctors' lobby group caused consternation in the UK drinks trade last week by calling for all alcohol advertising in the country to be banned. The group, the British Medical Association (BMA), also wants to levy a fee on drinks firms to pay for education covering responsible consumption, as well as the introduction of minimum pricing and - as if that weren't enough - shorter licensing hours.
The suggested measures were included in the BMA's report, 'Under the Influence'.
This combative approach to the serious issue of alcohol-related harm in society is at best unhelpful and, at worst, potentially dangerous. The industry cannot be expected to come to the table if it must constantly bat away reactionary ideas. Blanket bans and fees make for good rhetoric, but they do not necessarily lead to sensible solutions.
We understand from sources that the BMA is indulging in a political dogfight with other campaigners in the medical profession, notably Professor Ian Gilmore, who heads a broad-based campaign network – Alcohol Health Alliance - calling for tougher measures on drinks. Anything you ask for, we'll ask for more, perhaps?
On the sidelines of the BMA outburst, we picked up an interesting tidbit last week on minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks. We understand that the Office of Fair Trading has told the Scottish Government that it will not support minimum pricing on alcohol.
Could another headline-grabbing idea - big on words, small on detail - be dead in the water before it's left the barn?
The other big story last week was news that we may, finally, have a decent acquisition battle on our hands in 2009. No sooner had Orangina Schweppes Group's owners, private equity groups Lion Capital and Blackstone, confirmed that Japan's Suntory Holdings had approached them about the company, than reports reached us that Suntory's domestic rival Asahi has joined the race for Orangina.
Commence aux festivales.
Turning to this week, just-drinks will be in Munich for this year's DrinkTec exhibition which opened its doors this morning. If you're at the fair, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be in Munich all week, but bear in mind we will NOT be at the exhibition on the Saturday.
It's the first day of Oktoberfest, you see.
Never question our priorities.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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