Brewers in the Republic of Ireland are up in arms about a law that will bar shoppers from browsing for beer but allows them to do so for wine.

The Irish Brewers’ Association says it may issue a legal challenge to the legislation – due to come into effect in the autumn – that will force retailers to sell drink from a part of their premises separated from the rest of the store by “a wall or similar barrier”. 

However an amendment tabled by justice minister Dermot Ahern will allow wine shoppers to browse before making a purchase. He rejected an IBA plea that a similar concession be granted to beer. 

The association – whose members include Diageo and InBev – is to consider whether to take its case to the courts, initially in the Republic, and ultimately to the European Court.