One of my vestiges of Scottishness is that I buy Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday paper of the Scotsman Group every week. I usually get round to reading it sometime towards the end of the week, but had read it yesterday, apart from sport and business. I read them this morning over a pot of tea. The business section was headlined by the news that Molson Coors is ending its £2.2 million a year, seven year sponsorship of Rangers and Celtic. Paul Miller, director of sales for Molson Coors Scotland, said Scottish legislation was "difficult to understand" and interpret.
It seems this relates mostly to promotion and sales of the ubiquitous lager, predominantly in the off trade, but in pubs as well, as Scottish Government legislation disallows promotions that encourage increased drinking. Bit of a bummer that for the promotions team, I'll bet. A perplexed Miller said "that the group struggled with the impact of promotion of alcohol in "on trade" pubs. If a promotion offers someone a free pint of beer, is that encouraging someone to consume more than they would otherwise consume? I guess the answer would be yes. But curiously, to the letter of the legislation, it doesn't. That is the difficulty, to understand what can and can't be done. The important thing for us is we don't contravene the spirit of the legislation."
Well Mr Miller, I'm no lawyer but I'd have thought the important thing is not to break the actual law. The law's spirit is quite a different matter, but nonetheless, it's a point that does have some resonance. When CAMRA offered its 50p off a pint Wetherspoon's vouchers to members, initially they were not valid in Scotland until advice was sought, so it isn't straightforward. Of course you could just be a cynic and reckon that after seven years, Coors had got all it could out of the deal and has decided that blaming the law is a little easier than to say that we've had enough and that no-one much in Scotland drinks Carling anyway. (Tennents has 55% of the on trade and over 60% of the off). I can't find figures for Carling.
Mr Miller also took the opportunity to confirm that Molson Coors supports minimum pricing, following some inaccurate press reports that they did not. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said its policies on minimum pricing and the promotion of alcohol were "not mutually exclusive" and its legislation was "not anti-alcohol". So there you have it.
Oh and guess who is sponsoring the Old Firm now? You are way ahead of me aren't you? It's Tennents Lager of course.Tennent's Irish owner C&C said it was confident its approach to sponsorship was in line with government objectives. So there.
My thanks to SoS for this interesting piece. Click the title to go to their report.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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