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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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