Brewer hits out at deal to ban beers above 5.5% abv

17 June, 2013

A deal between Tesco and a local licensing authority to ban beer and cider with an abv above 5.5% has been branded “nonsensical” by a craft beer supplier.

Britain’s largest retailer agreed to a landmark deal with West Dunbartonshire Council’s licensing authority to secure a drinks licence for its Clydebank store in Scotland.

Suppliers fear it may be the first of many such deals and Gerald Michaluk, owner of the Arran Brewery, said it will unfairly punish craft and premium drinks producers.

He said: “This is absolutely nonsensical. A bottle of wine is has an abv of 12%, and if I was in the area and I wanted to get drunk I would just go and get a bottle of that.

“I’m very surprised if this would get past European competition regulations. It hurts Scottish producers and its almost like they are saying ‘go and buy French products – ignore local brewers’.

“We produce a Scottish beer which has been voted the best in the country, yet we can’t sell it there. It’s just a mad idea.”

Arran has won a host of awards at the International Beer Challenge and World Beer Awards for its beers and was named best beer in Scotland by CAMRA.

Tesco said: “As a responsible retailer of alcohol, we work closely with local councils and the police to address any concerns raised in the communities where we operate.

“Where the local authority or police have concerns over high-strength products, they have added conditions to our licence with which we comply.”

West Dunbartonshire Council added: “Tesco offered up these concessions. We did not impose them.

“We have Scotland’s toughest licensing regulations and Tesco came to the board in the knowledge that there is a robust regulation, and offered up a few unusual solutions that you might not have expected in order to take account of the different environment in West Dunbartonshire.”

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