Scores of drinks companies across beer, wine, spirits and cider have signed an open letter to the Scottish government, to voice opposition to a potential ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

“Plans unveiled by the Scottish government to introduce a blanket ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship could not have come at a worse time for our sector, and the many thousands we employ,” said the letter.

“Such a ban will harm Scotland’s alcohol distillers and brewers, who are an integral component of ‘Brand Scotland’ with no clear evidence to justify such a move. Restricting the ability to promote and market products responsibly will remove a vital route to market and go against the Scottish Government’s vision to double the turnover of the food and drink sector by 2030.”

The letter, which was signed by around 150 companies and brands, including Diageo, BrewDog, C&C Group, Aston Manor and Champagne Lanson, also said an unintended consequence of the proposal would be the loss of funds for sports and culture sectors.

“Scotland’s brewers and distillers together provide employment to 88,700 people and contribute £6.1 billion (GVA) to Scotland’s economy annually,” the letter went on the read.   

The companies also highlighted a barrage of recent headwinds for the sector, including the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

The letter continued: “We recognise and share in the Scottish government’s determination to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol and agree that there will be further workable steps the alcohol industry can take to help. However, these proposals will not serve to achieve this and do not address the root cause of why someone might come to have a harmful relationship with alcohol.”

The proposal to restrict alcohol advertising and promotion is currently in the consultation phase. The deadline for responses is March 9.