Alcohol policy

BBPA and members are committed to tackling alcohol-related harms. The vast majority of people drink responsibly and with beer as the most consumed drink in our nations pubs, we strive to ensure that policies are fair and proportionate. We also ensure they are targeted towards the minority who misuse alcohol and cause harm to themselves and others.

  • BBPA ‘bitterly disappointed ’ by confirmation of low and no alcohol consultation outcome

    14 December 2018

      The Department of Health and Social Care has published its formal response to the consultation on low alcohol product labelling, confirming a previously widely-reported decision that there will be no changes to the descriptors for low and no alcohol products. Commenting on the decision, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Confirmation of this decision is bitterly disappointing. The Department of Health has missed this opportunity to give consumers greater clarity when it comes to the labelling of low alcohol beers. “Changing the current definition of ‘alcohol free’ beer from 0.05% ABV to 0.5% ABV – as we suggested during the consultation process – would have brought the UK in line with the rest of Europe and other global markets. This creates the perverse situation whereby beers at 0.5% ABV produced in Europe can be sold in the UK as “alcohol free”, but British brewers brewing at the same strength must label their beer differently. This is discrimination and will create confusion for consumers. “Whilst we have already seen significant growth in the low alcohol beer sector, the Government has failed to implement changes that would enable Britain’s brewers to further innovate and promote lower strength drinks to stimulate this growth further. “A decision by the Australian Government to introduce tax reductions for ‘lighter’ beer has already led to growth of such beers to occupy 25% of the market there. Sadly then, this decision by the UK Government represents a missed opportunity to provide a similar incentive here and gives no encouragement to those seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption. “There is plenty of evidence to show that moderate drinking brings health benefits, and beer, which is typically a low strength form of alcohol, is a great way to enjoy a well-earned drink whilst supporting your local pub.”   ENDS For further information, please contact: David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815 Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013 Adam Beazley, Communications & Campaigns Officer: 020 7627 9155 / 07507 836 708   Notes to editors: The response to the consultation can be found here. The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s

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  • BBPA calls for clarity on descriptors used for low-strength alcoholic drinks

    11 May 2018

    In response to the consultation from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the Government to revise how low and non-alcoholic drinks are described. BBPA is also calling for changes to the Advertising Standards Agency rules (ASA) to allow wider promotion of low-strength drinks. In its response to the DHSC Consultation on Low Alcohol Descriptors, the BBPA has called on DHSC to change the definition of ‘Alcohol Free’ from 0.05% ABV to 0.5% ABV, to bring the UK in line with the rest of Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, which would improve consistency of labelling of such products across the EU, as well as other global markets.  The BBPA has called for ‘low-strength’ alcohol to be defined as between 0.5% ABV and 1.2% ABV. There is clear evidence from the latest Drinkaware research that a significant proportion of consumers seek out lower strength options as a way of moderating their alcohol consumption. A decision by the Australian Government to introduce tax reductions for ‘lighter’ beer of 3.5% ABV or below has led to growth of such beers to occupy 25% of the market.  BBPA would like to see a similar ‘lighter’ or mid-strength definition for beers between 1.2% ABV and 3.5% ABV. Consumers are more receptive of beer at this strength and greater consumer acceptance would act as an incentive for significant investment and innovation in the category. A definition at 3.5% ABV would also be consistent with UK Government support for an increase in the current EU excise duty thresholds from 2.8% ABV to 3.5% ABV. As part of changes to the UK definition for low strength drinks, the BBPA has also called for changes to the ASA’s advertising rules to allow the promotion of low strength beer. The BBPA supports the proposal by DHSC to control the use of low strength descriptors through guidance, rather than in legislation from December 2018. Such guidance requires flexibility and must ensure that labelling terms are positive and are used consistently. The BBPA is aware that DHSC has been considering low alcohol descriptors for some time and as part of its response, the BBPA has emphasised the urgent need for a decision to be made quickly to minimise costs and ensure that businesses have sufficient time to prepare for any changes as a consequence of the review. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments: “There is plenty of evidence that moderate drinking brings health benefits, and beer, as a generally low strength form of alcohol, is a great way to enjoy sensible drinking and support your local pub. “Our proposed changes could further boost the huge amount of investment and innovation in the industry for low and no alcohol beers­­­­.”

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