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Gallo to sponsor London art fair

Published:  13 October, 2008

Gallo Family Vineyards is sponsoring this year's Affordable Art Fair for the second year running.

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Weekend round-up: Free wine tastings to be banned; Foster's prepares takeover defences

Published:  13 October, 2008

A round-up of stories from the weekend newspapers. TextA round-up of stories from the weekend newspapers.

Sunday Times:
Picking up on the Government's drinks industry code first leaked to Harpers last week, the Sunday Times says the proposals mark a hardening in the government's stance after the failure of a voluntary code to curb binge drinking. Under the proposals, bars are to be banned from offering free alcohol to women and free wine and beer tastings will be curbed under a new system of government restrictions to cut public drunkenness. There will also be rules to limit "happy hour" offers that encourage speed drinking, and soft drinks will have to be sold at the same discount during promotions. Wine in restaurants will have to be served in glasses with marked measures.

The FT:
Foster's, the Australian drinks group, is preparing its takeover defences amid expectations that the sale or demerger of its wine business will lead to a scramble for its coveted beer operations. The drinks group, which recently named Ian Johnston as chief executive after his predecessor Trevor O'Hoy took the fall for the group's ill-fated foray into wine, is due to complete the "strategic review" of its wine business within about 10 weeks. Analysts estimate that Foster's beer assets could be worth close to A$12bn (US$7.8bn). SABMiller, the London-based brewer, is a strong contender to bid for the beer brands if they come on to the market.

The FT:
SABMiller, maker of Peroni and Pilsner Urquell beers, is expected to report flat or negative like-for-like lager sales, with sales in key markets such as South Africa and Colombia likely to disappoint. Focus will be on SAB's key trading currencies, particularly the Columbian peso, which has fallen against the US dollar (the currency that the company reports its results in) over recent months.

The FT:
Diageo, maker of Baileys liqueur and Smirnoff vodka, is expected to say it remains on track to meet prior guidance in spite of increasing macroeconomic uncertainty. But interest is on how the distiller's whisky and vodka sales are holding up in such places as Russia, which has been engulfed in political and financial turmoil.

The Sun:
A beer hall in Iraq has held its own version of Munich's famous Oktoberfest party - complete with frothy steins, sausages, an oom-pah band and dirndl-clad waitresses. German-born Gunter Voelker, owner of the Deutscher Hof Erbil restaurant in Irbil, in Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq, says he wants to dispel the notion that Iraq isn't a holiday destination and insists beer is bringing people together.

The Mirror:
Airline pilots banned from the road for drinkdriving are allowed to carry on flying passenger jets, the Civil Aviation Authority has revealed. The CAA has admitted that nine commercial pilots were convicted of drink-driving last year. Three worked for easyJet while one was employed by Virgin Airlines. Pilots are banned from any alcohol consumption within eight hours of a shift, and easyJet imposes a 10-hour embargo ahead of duty.

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Vodka pulled from sale for appealing to children

Published:  13 October, 2008

A vodka drink is to be removed from sale because it looks like a soft drink and could appeal to children.

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Welcome to the new look TalkingDrinks.com

Published:  13 October, 2008

TalkingDrinks.com has had a makeover.

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Wine and spirits Moët Hennessy's worst summer performer

Published:  10 October, 2008

Wine and spirits were LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton's worst performer over the summer months, according to its latest results.

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Drinks industry challenges politicians on the facts about alcohol

Published:  10 October, 2008

Harpers is stepping up its campaign urging the drinks industry to lobby MPs over the Government's proposed new alcohol laws.

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Eaux de vie joins forces with Malcolm Cowen

Published:  10 October, 2008

By Rebecca Gibb

Spirits specialist Eaux de Vie will merge with Malcolm Cowen to increase its marketing power and distribution in the UK.

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InBev names North American leadership team

Published:  10 October, 2008

InBev has lined up two new leaders who will play key roles when it merges with Anheuser-Busch group later this year.

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Magners boss quits ailing company

Published:  09 October, 2008

The chief executive of C&C Group, the makers of Magners cider, is standing down after failing to halt the brand's sales slump.

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Draft mandatory code of practice is revealed

Published:  09 October, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: By Shirley Webb 

The Government has given the strongest indication yet that it is considering a mandatory code of practice for the whole drinks trade in a bid to curb what it perceives to be a binge-drinking culture. TextEXCLUSIVE: By Shirley Webb

The Government has given the strongest indication yet that it is considering a mandatory code of practice for the whole drinks trade in a bid to curb what it perceives to be a binge-drinking culture.

Harpers has seen a confidential Home Office draft code, which has been circulated to health officials and drink companies to encourage response to consultation on the next stage of the Government's national alcohol strategy, which ends on Tuesday.

The 26-page document indicates tough new legislation placing restrictions on the packaging, promotion and sale of alcohol. It also includes a raft of mandatory and targeted conditions on what should be included on the labels of alcoholic drinks.

The conditions outlined would become either "mandatory licence  conditions" or "standalone criminal offences".

The draft also indicates that a central regulation authority - possibly the Food Standards Agency - will take control of the code, with trading standards officers and the police monitoring and enforcing it on the ground.

In addition to the code, new laws concerning price and promotions are likely to be outlined in a Health Bill due out in the autumn of 2009. The subject of promotions falls outside the remit of the Licensing Act 2003, under which part of the code will be introduced.

If enacted, the code would make the Portman Group's voluntary code of practice redundant and could lead to the group's demise, industry sources have indicted.

A Portman Group spokesman denied the speculation: "The Government has praised our code and we will be arguing there is no public interest in duplicating something that works."

Tell your MP what you think of the proposed legislation by writing an open letter to your MP. Find out more and download our template letter here.

A new policy paper due to be released by Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, next month, is also expected to back the Government's proposal for a mandatory code and curb on prices and promotions.

Key points:

Retailers must display the sensible drinking message statement at point of sale

A ban on promotions that offer free drinks

Labelling must include: the sensible drinking message; a the number of units contained in the drink; and the chief medical officers recommended guidance on consumption

Retailers must ask for proof of age if buyers look under 21.

This article has been taken from this week's issue of Harpers magazine, which is available by subscription only. To subsribe to Harpers, please click here.

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Tell your MP the real facts about alcohol

Published:  09 October, 2008

Harpers is inviting you to join the Alcohol Debate by writing an open letter to your MP.

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TalkingDrinks.com is getting a makeover

Published:  09 October, 2008

We're giving TalkingDrinks.com a makeover.

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Corona scores Ministry of Sound sponsorship deal

Published:  08 October, 2008

Corona Extra has announced a major sponsorship deal with clubbing brand Ministry of Sound.

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Tory MP calls for end to deep discounting of alcohol

Published:  08 October, 2008

A Tory MP has urged the government to ban the deep discounting of alcohol in the off-trade.

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Scottish government publishes alcohol consultation responses

Published:  08 October, 2008

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has published the hundreds responses it received to its consultation on tackling Scotland's alcohol misuse problem.

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Asahi Beer appoints Dulche as business development manager

Published:  08 October, 2008

Japanese beer company Asahi Beer has appointed Benoit Dulche as business development manager.

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Cobra launches new design for cans

Published:  08 October, 2008

Cobra Beer has unveiled new designs for its Cobra 5% Premium beer cans, which have gone into production and will roll-out in the coming weeks. The launch follows the re-design of its Cobra 5% Premium bottled offering as well as Cobra Zero%, Cobra Light and the Cobra Bite range of naturally flavoured lagers.

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Diageo buys world's biggest whisky collection

Published:  08 October, 2008

Diageo has bought the world's largest collection of whiskies from a Brazilian whisky enthusiast and shipped them to Scotland, to be displayed in a specially designed vault at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

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Asda slammed for selling beer that's cheaper than water

Published:  08 October, 2008

Asda has come under fire for selling cans of lager that are cheaper than the price of a bottle of water.

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Famous Grouse gets festive makeover in the off-trade

Published:  08 October, 2008

Scotch whisky The Famous Grouse is to be repackaged for the off-trade this month in a bid to boost sales in the run up to Christmas.

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