Molson Coors: we need an alcohol minister

Molson Coors: we need an alcohol minister By Michelle Perrett 06/05/2011 09:11 The industry needs a designated alcohol minister, Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter has claimed.

Hunter: minister needed to oversee national strategy In a blog, written for the Publican’s, the head of Britain’s largest brewer said he is “baffled” when he sees policy decisions (such as the 7.2% duty rise on beer) that seem disconnected from the alcohol responsibility and economic growth strategies of the Government. He argued that there needs to be a three-pronged approach underpinning a cohesive national alcohol strategy – responsible marketing, education and price & taxation. “More aligned Government thinking would facilitate and encourage promotion of lower-alcohol products.

Currently, advertising codes prohibit making a virtue of alcoholic strength,” he argued. “A bizarre consequence is brand owners are prohibited from advertising reduced-strength drink, undermining Government intentions to support – by way of reduced taxation – the promotion of low-strength beer. Where’s the joined-up thinking?” Hunter also called for the Government to invest 0.1% of the £15bn it makes in alcohol tax revenues to help change irresponsible consumption, starting with education in schools that teaches the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and the dangers of over-consuming. Cohesive thinking across price and taxation is the third “critical” pillar, he said. A cohesive excise tax framework is needed to provide a “sensible” differential be-tween beer and higher-strength drinks and the “outrageous anomaly” between drinks like beer and cider need to be resolved. “A ban on below-cost selling that includes the cost of production is urgently required,” he added. “The Big Society needs a big idea to shape a culture of moderation. Perhaps the time is right for the Government to appoint a minister to oversee national alcohol strategy.

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