The company has hit back at criticism of its tie-up with Beckham

The company has hit back at criticism of its tie-up with Beckham

Diageo has defended David Beckham's role in launching a new Scotch whisky, after an alcohol charity branded his involvement “disappointing” and called for him to “re-think” the tie-up.

The drinks firm revealed yesterday (8 April) that Beckham and his business partner Simon Fuller will develop and promote Haig Club, a new single grain Scotch whisky. The brand is due to launch globally later this year.

But, Alcohol Concern, a UK charity that works to tackle alcohol issues, today criticised the move. “It’s incredibly disappointing that David Beckham, a global icon who has wide appeal to children, has chosen to use his sports star image to promote spirits,”  said Emily Robinson, the charity's deputy CEO.

“Given David Beckham’s other roles promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle to children, we believe this will send a confusing message to them about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on a healthy lifestyle and we call on the star to rethink his association with this product.”  

However in a response to just-drinks, a Diageo spokesperson said: “Diageo and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously. As well as abiding by all laws and industry codes, Diageo has our own, very stringent, guidelines on responsible marketing of our brands.”

As part of the launch Beckham will also head up a responsible drinking programme around the brand. The spokesperson declined to offer further details on what the programme will involve until the official launch, but said the initiative would be at the “heart of the brand”.

“We could not ask for a stronger ambassador for the campaign,” the spokesperson added. “We have always been completely clear in our view that alcohol should only be consumed by adults and we do not want underage drinkers as consumers.” 

The company's other celebrity tie-ups include a partnership with musician and producer Sean Combs on the vodka brand Ciroc and DeLeón Tequila, which Diageo acquired with the rap artist earlier this year.