The UK has its share of loonies, anti-alcohol neo-prohibitionist groups foaming at the mouth like our MADD, the Marin Institute and the CSPI. One major organization is Alcohol Concern, whose motto is “making sense of alcohol.” The UK’s Independent ran a propaganda piece today entitled Health Fears Over ‘Extreme Beer’ Craze, in which they appear to be making more nonsense about alcohol than anything else.
They also target Scotland’s wonderful BrewDog and confuse being hip and edgy with “targeting young people.” The tagline for the article is the historically forgetful “Bottled bitters with mind-blowing alcohol contents are being marketed to young drinkers,” as if high alcohol beers are something new. Barley Wines, a creation of the old guard British breweries, have been around more than a century, so it’s not like “extreme beers” are novel. A spokesperson for Alcohol Concern, CEO Don Shenker, is quoted as complaining “that BrewDog appeared to be targeting young people” and that it “remind[ed him] very much of alcopops. It looks to [him] like they’re going for the 18 to 25-year-old category.” Well how scientific. It “appears,” he’s “reminded” and it “looks to [him] like something he doesn’t like is taking place. That The Independent gives this group a voice is the real tragedy at the heart of what’s wrong with the way beer is so often mischaracterized by a press pandering to fear to sell papers and get hits online.
As part of an article in the Publican, by UK beer writer Pete Brown, was used as background for the smear piece, he rightly exposes their hypocrisy. Read the original article and then read Pete Brown’s response. It’s a joy to behold. Pete is obviously a kindred spirit.