Blog: Olly WehringThe best of British to you, drinks bods

Olly Wehring | 16 April 2007

As you are no doubt well aware, I’m as keen to pick on the drinks industry as I am to side with it - call it tough love, if you like, but when you guys do something daft, we call you on it. At the same time, if you folks are having it tough, then you know we’ll be right behind you in the last garrison.

You’ll probably know within the first sentence where I sit on this one.

Over the weekend, the Institute for Public Policy Research has called for the raising of the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. The think-tank believes that, if the step were made, “it is at least possible that those in their early- and mid-teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do, so, therefore, they might as well start doing it surreptitiously now".

That such a blunt instrument is being proposed and aired in the public domain worries me. At times I wonder how those charged with defending the drinks industry from such draconian measures that seek to cast it as the devil incarnate have any hair left.

Such a move would be like trying to uninvent the wheel and completely underestimates the complexity of the issue of alcohol harm.

What this latest propsal once again demonstrates is the need for the drinks industry to stand united by pro-actively seeking to engage all parties in this debate in the hunt for a reasoned and workable solution, that avoids the sort of clichéd drumbeating we have seen here.


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