Drinks brands and former government advisor cry foul over Scottish alcohol advertising and sponsorship ban

Former government advisor cries foul over Scottish alcohol advertising and sponsorship ban

An industry expert has reacted angrily to a proposed outright ban on the advertising and sponsorship of alcohol by the Scottish government, warning that any such moves bring the industry a "short leap" from extreme tobacco-style health warnings and plain packaging.

Such is the strength of feeling on the issue that Jack Cummins, a former state advisor on licensing laws, likened any such action to the policy of a totalitarian government such as that "enjoyed by the citizens of North Korea."

Any such action, if enforced, would bring an end to the prominent association with alcohol and events such as the Edinburgh Festival and Six Nations with similar restrictions spanning TV, cinema, print and social media.

Cummins said: “It’s not difficult to see where this outright demonisation of alcohol is designed to lead us. There are currently legislative controls on the display, availability and promotion of alcohol, as well as pricing.

“In the drive to airbrush alcohol from public spaces, it’s a short leap towards tobacco-style health warnings on bottles and cans, plain packaging and tobacco-style shop cabinets.”

Drinks manufacturers are also lining up against the move with the burgeoning craft drinks sector up in arms over what they see as a one-size fits all approach which lumps their premium products alongside the likes of BuckFast and White Lightning.

Paul Miller, chief executive of craft brewers and gin distillers Eden Mill, which sponsors Scottish Rugby and other live events told the Herald: "Our aim is to encourage greater appreciation of premium quality gin, beer and whisky, not to encourage people to drink anymore than they do.

"These proposals would remove an opportunity we have to promote that and instead gives rise to more functional alcoholic consumption."

Scottish courts recently upheld a minimum pricing policy for alcohol despite complaints from the Scotch whisky industry.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.