Search
The Caterer

Pubs fear fallout from crackdown on underage drinkers

23 August 2007 by
Pubs fear fallout from crackdown on underage drinkers

The pub industry has been forced to defend the way it sells alcohol after a week of pressure from politicians and police keen to reduce the levels of binge- and underage drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence.

Industry commentators fear that, with the introduction of the smoking ban accomplished, the on-trade is likely to be dragged into the current row about the irresponsible retailing of booze.

Peter Fahy, chief constable of Cheshire, called for the legal age to buy alcohol to be raised from 18 to 21 after three teenage boys were charged with the murder of a man in Warrington. Claims were made by the police that alcohol was "too cheap and too available" to underage drinkers.

The Home Office is already in talks with the drinks industry over pricing as part of a joint investigation with the Department of Health into the cost and promotion of alcohol.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it was "too early to speculate on the outcome", as the findings will not be published until April next year. However, reports in the national media suggest that legislation to impose a blanket ban on promotions such as happy hours is likely.

In response to claims about pricing, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has fought back through a Freedom of Information Act request to the Competition Commission, which revealed that £112.7m-worth of alcohol was sold below cost by supermarkets during June 2006.

Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "This type of discounting - which by any judgement is irresponsible - is not illegal, but they should not really be doing that."

Bish warned that retailers of alcohol, be they supermarkets or pubs, would "collectively be under the cosh" as "alcohol becomes the new tobacco".

Neil Williams, communications manager at the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "As an industry, we have taken action on drinks promotions. Since 2005 we have had a voluntary code, which basically prohibits happy hours."

Pubs selling alcohol to minors face closure or fines >>

Flaws uncovered in test purchase pilot >>

Underage drinkers to target Fife pubs in sting operations >>

By Christopher Walton

E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton](mailto:christopher.walton@rbi.co.uk?subject=Pubs fear fallout from crackdown on underage drinkers) here.

[The Caterer Blog](http://www.caterersearch.com/blogs/catering-news-blog/) Catch up with more news and gossip on the Caterer Blog here
[Newswire For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail news alerts.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.