WSTA outlines future challenges for the drinks trade

23 April, 2008

The drinks industry must do more to be heard against a wave of anti-alcohol sentiment in order to survive in a tough environment, the WSTA has warned.

Speaking at the Wine & Spirit Trade Association's Spring Conference earlier today, chief executive Jeremy Beadles told members to brace themselves against increasing government legislation, a drop in consumer spending and negative headlines in the national media.

He said: "We're under tough trading conditions. These are the times when the consumer will look at their spending. The government is also coming up with a range of alcohol strategies that are all about price and promotion and not about education.

"We have to get better at putting our view across and engaging with the consumer."

Beadles urged members of the drinks trade to put across positive messages from their businesses and ensure local MPs and media were considering their views too.

He also said more needed to be done to educate children at a younger age about alcohol.

Other speakers at the event at London's Gibson Hall, were Barry Clark of hte Future Foundation, Marjana Martinic of the International Center for Alcohol Policies, Beam Global Iberia, France, UK and Ireland managing director Jonathan Stordy and Richard Sharman of KPMG.

Kevin Brennan, the parliamentary under secretary of state for children, young people and families also gave a keynote address.

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