Thousands of pubs and bars across the UK have agreed to offer 'house' wine weaker than 12.5% abv, following government pressure to dissuade harmful drinking.
Key drinks industry associations in the UK, including the British Beer & Pub Association and Wine & Spirit Trade Association, have signed their members up to new measures devised in cooperation with government officials and intended to curb alcohol consumption.
One of the new pledges is that pubs and bars will offer a house wine below 12.5% abv, so as to reduce the level of alcohol in each glass.
‘Alcohol-fuelled harm costs taxpayers £21bn a year,’ said UK home secretary Theresa May.
Action on the strength of alcoholic drinks is a central feature of the so-called responsibility deal between the drinks trade and government.
Some politicians and wine trade members criticised the move to serve weaker house wines in pubs as evidence of ‘nanny state’ tactics.
‘So now you can’t have a good Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, but you can have a weaker Pinot Grigio?’ said Gavin Quinney, owner of Chateau Bauduc in Bordeaux.
‘What most people want is not nanny interference by the state but better quality wines by the glass in pubs and bars, and reasonable prices.’
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, criticised the government for not being tough enough on the drinks trade.
Written by Chris Mercer