WSTA funds consumer website on alcohol
Published:  16 May, 2008

Consumers will be given the chance to air their views on the national debate around alcohol policy, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association says.

Consumers will be given the chance to air their views on the national debate around alcohol policy through a new drinks industry initiative.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is funding the launch of to encourage the public to participate in discussions and ensure their opinions are taken into consideration by politicians.

After six months in development, the website will be unveiled at next week's London International Wine Fair, before going live in June with a range of activities to increase consumer awareness.

Content is intended to be user-driven, with forums taking centre stage, although additional information will include statistics on consumption, health and poicing of alcohol-related crime.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said the drive was inspired by the body's research, which showed consumers felt they were being ignored and the political agenda failed to reflect their opinions.

He said they could now have their say on the website: "People might think this is a cynical approach, but we have done a lot of research and people are saying very different things to what the government, the health lobby and the police are."

Tim How, Majestic Wines chief executive, pledged his support for the site and intends to motivate his staff to get involved, before hopefully engaging consumers.

How said: "We are keen that, during a period when the government purports to want to involve the public in the debate around alcohol policy, they are given a way to do so.

"I certainly hope that as the campaign builds we can eventually involve our customers, but the first point is all of our employees. It needs to build by word of mouth because we all know how powerful that can be. All consumers want is a balanced debate, which is what we are arguing for as well."

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