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Delhi Wine Club
Booze-au-lait for Breakfast Ad in Brit Bar Banned

Posted: Wednesday, 23 March 2011 15:17

Booze-au-lait for Breakfast Ad in Brit Bar Banned

Sometimes one wonders if UK is not taking a leaf out of the law books for wine in India and resorting to desperate and illogical measures to control the problem of increasing alcoholism there, as one reads the report of an email promoting a 'Beaujolais breakfast' at Corney & Barrow wine bars being banned after advertising watchdogs found it could encourage irresponsible drinking.

Although it is not clear if the law enforcing Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), misinterpreted as Booze-au-lait Breakfast and not the Beaujolais Breakfast that the wine bar owners intended it to be, it is good to know that we in India have company in a relatively sophisticated wine drinking as UK which has had centuries of wine drinking tradition.  The agency has concluded that the ad was encouraging ‘an irresponsible drinking practice’ and should not re-appear in its current form.

The Ad refers to the ‘Beaujolais Nouveau promotion advertised as a full English breakfast with a 175ml glass of Beaujolais for £10 only on 18 November between 7.30-11a.m., says the article in Decanter quoting the ad further, ‘Forget boring team meetings in the office. We guarantee your meeting minutes will be taken to a whole new level!’

Beaujolais Nouveau is traditionally released on the third Thursday of November every year and no one is allowed to sell before, which happened to be on 18th November in 2010, the day for which the ad was carried. It is the cheapest form of Beaujolais made with carbonic maceration in the southern part of Burgundy; the region was once considered a part of Burgundy. Made from Gamay grape, the cheaper and less tannic cousin of Pinot Noir, it makes a fruity wine with low alcohol and is generally trashed by the wine snobs but loved by novices who find it lighter on their palate and the pocket.

Apparently, in a novel idea to promote the event and the store, the wine bar chain in London with 13 bars in 12 locations, advertised in the above fashion through an email campaign. In their defence, Corney & Barrow did strongly refute the complaint filed last November, pointing out that the ad related to a single annual event, and was for a single, small-sized glass of wine the effects of which would be offset by food.

While lauding the concept behind the email, of taking a lead in opening the Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 before anyone else in the city, the 175mL glass is almost the quarter of a standard 750 mL bottle and not small by any standard although it would be within the daily amount of alcohol recommended as the daily dose of wine for health. The company perhaps went a bit over the top as it said: ‘Now that’s a red worth getting out of bed for’ and could be insinuated as encouraging irresponsible drinking. The ASA Code does require that marketing communications contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise.

A self imposed code of conduct needs to be self imposed by wine marketers in advertisements UK appears to be the leading nation reeling in the problem of alcoholism which has reached an alarming proportion and where wine is also a contributor. It appears that there is a joint effort by the government and industry to control the menace.  Hopefully, good journalism from magazines like Decanter and The Drinks Business will support the initiative. One would hate to see the Indian bureaucrats, politicians and the local moral police use the London example to hinder the growing culture of wine which remains a healthy product from all accounts and studies so far-provided it is taken in moderation and with food.

Incidentally, it appears the wine bar chain has also not been able to resist the onslaught of liquor companies. Staring at you on their website as you open, is not a complimentary bottle of Champagne, Prosecco or the English bubbly, but Finlandia Vodka when you book a space for 8 or more in the month of March!


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