Web alliance gives consumers a voice

16 May, 2008

WSTA funds online platform for public debate around attitudes to alcohol

Consumers are being given the chance to air their views on the national debate around alcohol policy through a new industry initiative.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is funding the launch of



encourage public to participat e in discussions and ensure their opinions

are taken into consideration by politicans.

After six months in development, the website will be unveiled at next week's London International Wine Fair , before going live in June

with a range of activit ies to increase consumer awareness.

Content is intended to be

user-driven, with forums taking centre stage, although additional information will

includ e statistics on consumption, health and polic ing of alcohol-related crime.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said the drive was inspired by

the body's

research, which showed consumers felt the y were being ignored and

the political agenda failed to reflect their opinions.

He said

they can now have their say on the website. "People might think

this is a cynical approach, but we have done a lot of research and people are saying very different things to what the government, the health lobby and the police are."

Tim How, Majestic Wines chief ­executive,

pledged his support

and intention to motivate his staff to get involved, before hopefully engaging customers.

How said: "We are keen that, during a period when the government purports to want to involve the public in the debate around alcohol policy , they are given a way to do so.

"I certainly hope that as the campaign builds we can eventually involve our customers, but the first point is all of our employees. It needs to build by word of mouth because we all know how powerful that can be. All consumers want is a balanced debate, which is what we are arguing for as well."

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