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French drinks industry wins internet battle

The French National Assembly has agreed to allow alcohol advertising online.

The measure has still to be approved by the Senate but is a major victory for the drinks industry. Health minister Roselyne Bachelot supported the amendment to the Evin Law. She argued the government was not slackening the laws but accepting the reality of the internet age.

Damien Bonnabel, of findawine.com, is one of the most vocal supporters of the pro-wine lobby and welcomed the amendment. ‘Those opposing the amendment continued to suggest the internet is a lawless place where all users are underage… which is clearly not the reality,’ he told decanter.com

The National Assembly also agreed to raise the minimum age for buying alcohol from 16 to 18.

Drink-as-much-as-you-like bars will be forbidden. However the text permits professional tastings at chateaux, wine fairs and traditional festivals.

Another measure will forbid the sale of alcohol in service stations after 6pm.

‘The anti-alcohol lobby will take this as a victory for the wine industry but rather it is simply bringing things back into balance. The idea that the Evin Law should not be updated to reflect today’s realities was absurd, and the idea that wine tastings at chateaux should be illegal was also clearly illogical,’ added Bonnabel.

Written by Jane Anson

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