An End To Happy Hour In Scotland

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Doctor's Orders Brewing
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What does this say about the Scotish and the sensible consumption of alcohol ?


32,000 pubs ban cheap drink

ABOUT one third of Scotland's pubs instituted a ban on happy-hour promotions yesterday in a move to combat binge drinking and anti-social behaviour.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said cheap alcohol sales, including drink-all-you-can schemes, will be banned by its 32,000 members throughout the country.

The organisation has 1,500 members in Scotland out of a total of 5,100 licensed premises, meaning almost a third of pubs north of the Border, including most of the big city-centre chain pubs, will bring in the ban.

The voluntary measure was introduced to coincide with a House of Commons debate on the Queen's Speech.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Executive unveiled its Licensing Bill to tackle binge drinking. When it comes into effect, probably next year, pubs will no longer be able to have happy hours for customers. Instead, any promotions will have to keep going for a minimum of 48 hours, which would make little financial sense. Ploys such as two-for-one offers and "all you can drink for 10" deals will be banned.

The BBPA move, effectively an interim measure until the bill is passed in Scotland, is aimed at cutting the cost of excessive drinking in British pubs, which the government claims sets the country back 20 billion a year.

Mark Hastings, spokesman for the BBPA, said cheap time-limited alcohol deals which encouraged people to drink too much too quickly no longer had a place in the industry.

He said: "This is all part of our drive to tackle binge drinking and anti-social behaviour in town centres. We are targeting the sort of promotions that fuel excessive drinking.

"By setting this standard, we are expecting other pubs which are not members of the association to join in. And we are also calling on supermarkets, which sell the bargain-basement alcohol that also plays a role in town-centre drinking, to take part."

All pubs owned by Carlsberg, Heineken, Scottish & Newcastle, Youngs, Theakston and Diageo are joining the campaign. The All Bar One, Slug & Lettuce and Pitcher & Piano groups are also taking part.

The Home Office minister, Hazel Blears, welcomed the ban which she said would help to end "grossly irresponsible" happy-hour promotions.

She said: "I very much welcome that fact the BBPA have taken the initiative and provided guidance for pubs and clubs to help put an end to irresponsible drinks promotions, and I fully support this guidance as part of the trade's ongoing work to help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder."

Paul Waterson, the chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: "We've always supported strict controls on such happy-hour promotions, so this action is welcome. The Licensing Act itself will go even further when it becomes law in 2006."

Patrick Browne, the chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, said: "This provides a strong lead on an issue that is being tackled by the Scottish Parliament."

But Jack Law, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, voiced concern about how a voluntary arrangement could be effectively policed. He said: "Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes the agreement by BBPA member pubs to scrap happy hours. Discounting drinks over a short period of time to encourage people to drink more quickly does not create a safe drinking environment.

"However, it remains to be seen how successful a voluntary agreement will be - how will this be monitored and what will happen to pubs that don't comply? We very much hope that Scotland's new licensing laws will address the issue of happy hours and cheap drink promotions in both the on- and off-licence trade once and for all."
Doc said:
what will happen to pubs that don't comply?

They'll get all the business, I'd imagine. Scotland!