October 12, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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You've got to admire politicians sometimes. It's a thankless task, it would seem, to enter the political arena, be it to help your community or country, or to embark on a career. An easy target for all, a politician's lot can't be a happy one.
It is with an air of sympathy for their travails, then, that we have enjoyed/endured the party conference season here in the UK over the last few weeks, concluding with the Conservative party's last week. The Tories look on course to win the next General Election here, which must take place before May 2010. So it pays to listen to what they had to say when it comes to our industry.
The shadow home secretary used the conference to warn that the Conservatives will “tear up” the existing licensing laws in this country, should they come to power.
The announcement was followed, however, by an interesting email from a just-drinks subscriber, highlighting the difficulties the Tories will face.
“The structure of excise duties are clearly set out in EC Directive 92/83,” the informed reader claims. “This directive splits alcoholic beverages into specific categories - beer, wine, other fermented beverages, intermediate products and spirits.
“Beer is a linear system so that the higher strength beers already have a higher duty element to them. It would be impossible for the Tories to have one rate of excise on beer up to say 4% abv and a higher base rate on the stronger beers.
“In conclusion,” he says, “the Tories may contravene EU laws if they try to compartmentalise alcoholic beverages that fall under the same category in the alcohol structures directive.”
These politicians don't make it any easier for themselves, do they?
Elsewhere, our deputy editor, Chris Mercer spent two days at the end of last week visiting Campari in Milan. Aside from dutifully attending a cocktail party for the launch of the 2010 Campari Calendar, we learned more about Campari's business strategy for the year ahead from CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz. Stay tuned for more info.
Next week, meanwhile, just-drinks will be out in force at the annual Tax Free World Association trade show in Cannes. The travel retail sector has taken a fair battering in 2009, with passenger numbers stagnating and passenger spend also struggling. It will be interesting to see, after last year's bluff and bluster in the hall, whether the age of austerity in our industry has stretched to the Cote d'Azur.
If you'd like to meet up at the exhibition, or you feel there is something we simply cannot afford to miss, drop us an email at email@example.com
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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Licensing laws in England will be "torn up" and supermarkets will be banned from selling alcohol below cost if the Conservative Party wins the UK General Election, expected next year.
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