Most Britons drink responsibly. It is time for the media to stop blaming the drinks industry for the behaviour of a reckless minority
Am I alone in thinking the attack on the UK drinks industry has gone too far? It is almost impossible to pick up a national newspaper or turn on the TV without yet another story attempting to show the dark underbelly of the country's 'drink culture'.
It would be foolish for me to ignore the fact that alcohol requires careful handling, but surely people need to find their own limits - limits they are comfortable with? The idea that further restrictions should be placed on alcohol's sale, accessibility and consumption is ridiculous and again focuses far too much attention on the actions of the minority. The vast majority of the British public is more than capable of doing what it wants and not upsetting anyone.
Is this continued vilification of our drinks industry a deliberate attempt by the media to sabotage an industry that is already struggling following the atrocious weather this summer? No doubt some journalists will up the negative ante in the run up to Christmas with the usual reports of drunken behaviour at office parties and on the high street. Retailers who dare to entice customers with great value offers during what is one of - if not the - most competitive times of the retailing year will, I'm sure, be made to shoulder most of the blame for the minority's irresponsible
The national media appears to be driven by a need to sell papers or increase viewing or listening figures and if that means sensationalising a minority activity, so be it. It may surprise journalists to learn that some people are able to consume more than two beers and still manage to be upstanding pillars of their community.
No one is forced to drink. People have a choice. There is more education in society today about the evils of alcohol abuse than ever before, yet some people are still drinking excessively. Will this not always be the case?
It's time the media did a proper job and looked at the root causes of alcohol abuse. I am convinced it has less to do with 'cheap' alcohol and more to do with the breakdown of society and the community; fear of the state and bureaucracy; stress due to work or lack of work; the dearth of role models; and the lack of respect given to marriage and family values.
Like so many in this industry, I'm thoroughly fed up with the constant barrage of negative publicity facing us on an almost daily basis.
This industry is one I am proud of. We bring a little cheer to millions of people who work hard, pay taxes and would never dream of doing anything illegal. We as an industry have co-operated with all the restrictions we've had placed upon us and accepted our responsibility with good grace. Yet how much more responsibility must we shoulder because of the consequences of a few people's actions?
I ask myself how long it will be before the authorities demand alcohol-free pubs, where we can all sit around sober and discuss the state of the nation.
I am off now to check my car for 'please drive responsibly' messages, my kettle for 'contents may be hot' advice and a national newspaper for a 'contents may be exaggerated'
Like so many things in life, alcohol in moderation is fine and the positives far outweigh the negatives. Any time you are up this way, we'll go for a beer and put the world to rights.n
Mike Teague, sales director, Bavaria UK