11 July, 2008

Attacked for doing what I love

As a Scottish shop owner, I feel like throwing in the towel and quitting this whole retailing lark. I have put in 25 years of dedicated service to my shop, worked hard, traded responsibly and been, I hope, a pillar of support to my local community. And now I am told by my government

I must end three-for-two promotions, create an alcohol-only checkout, pay a social responsibility fee towards

the cost of drink-related crime and only serve customers aged over 21.

I find all these proposals absurd and feel that my chosen career has been personally attacked. Retailers can't be blamed for Scotland's alcohol misuse - the government needs to take up the issue with parents, schools and the children themselves before attacking responsible retailers like me.

Andy Jarvis, Edinburgh

Not all ale-lovers are beardies

I am so sick of the stereotypical image of the bearded, fat, socks-and-sandals-wearing real ale drinker, and I really hope the new consumer beer event, Beer Exposed, you wrote about in the last issue (OLN, June 27) will go some way to banishing it for good.

I am a 27-year-old woman, I'm slim, I like to think I'm attractive, and no, I don't have a beard - but I love beer of all sorts, including real ale.

I've thought about joining Camra, but it's just not my scene. I love the Great British Beer Festival, but I think we need something younger and fresher to get more young women like me drinking beer - and let's face it, the market needs us.

The recent Taste of London festival was a great showcase for beers from the likes of Wells & Young's, Cobra and Pierhead Purchasing. I really hope Beer Exposed can do even more to help young, dynamic, sophisticated men and women appreciate and understand the magic of good lager and ale.

Felicity Warrington

Flick's Food & Wine, London

Who will champion UK wines?

It's great to see Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, getting involved in promoting the country's wine - first she comes over here and is guest of honour at a dinner in Vintners' Hall, and now I see her pictured (OLN, June 27) shaking hands with Arnie himself to celebrate a wine research accord with California.

If only more heads of state would get actively involved in promoting their country's wines. How about Nicolas Sarkozy's gorgeous wife Carla Bruni writing a song about the joys of Burgundy? Or George W Bush leading a tasting of Californian Zinfandel?

The one thing I know won't be happening is our own Gordon Brown lifting a finger to promote England and Wales's fledgling wine production - I expect he thinks it causes binge-drinking and wishes it would all just go away. At least we've still got the Queen - let's make sure someone's sending her regular bottles of Nyetimber, Ridgeview et al, and maybe we'll have ourselves a champion in the future.

Allan Smith

Vineries, Hants

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So, George The Bear is back. Itís hard for some of us oldies to fathom, but there are those under, say, 40 who canít actually remember Hofmeister and feel the cultural jolt supplied by the return of both the bear and the beer whose marketing campaigns it used to front.

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