US: Distilled Spirits Council says beer lobby seeks to "foment fears"

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The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) has accused the US beer lobby of “trying to foment fears” on alcohol regulations to safeguard its own interests.


DISCUS branded findings in a new Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP) survey “a predictable result from a beer wholesaler-funded front group”. The survey, released on Wednesday, said that three-quarters of Americans believe the US should not copy UK policy on alcohol. 

It said social issues caused by alcohol in the UK included binge drinking and “a rise in alcohol-fueled violence”.

But senior VP of the Distilled Spirits Council Mark Gorman told just-drinks yesterday CAP is wrong to compare the two countries.

“These same beer wholesalers have worked overtime the last several years trying to foment fears about US regulatory issues where none exist,” Gorman said. “The comparison between how alcohol is regulated in the US bears no relationship to the problems recently experienced in the UK.”

Gorman added: “No one should be confused: This is about protecting beer wholesalers’ economic advantages in the marketplace.”

In 2005, the UK adopted new alcohol laws that allowed on-trade and off-trade retailers to apply for 24-hour opening licences. 

The Distilled Spirits Council is a national trade association representing US distillers.

CAP was founded by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and receives funding from US beer distributors.

In CAP's survey, 81% of those questioned supported the rights of states to determine their own alcohol laws and regulations. The poll also showed that 79% believe alcohol is different to other supermarket products. 

Sectors: Beer & cider

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