Drinks Ireland response to Alcohol Action Ireland policy briefing on 0.0 drinks
Drinks Ireland has sharply criticised Alcohol Action Ireland’s policy briefing on non-alcohol drinks, stating that the government funded anti-alcohol lobby group is seeking again to incorrectly conflate alcohol and non-alcohol drinks, which are distinct consumer offerings.
“It’s bizarre that Alcohol Action Ireland is trying to limit a category that is actually supporting the objective of the Public Health Alcohol Act in reducing alcohol consumption,” said Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland. “We firmly believe that zero alcohol products offer consumers a choice that supports moderation, and so the growth of this category is something we should all be encouraging, not discouraging.
“Alcohol consumption continues to decline in Ireland, down by 30% in the last 20 years. There is clear demand for these products from adult consumers, driven by great innovation, and the public is already ahead on this issue when it comes to what they’re drinking and how they’re drinking.”
Healy continued: “Non-alcohol beer’s share of the market in Ireland has increased 4 fold in recent years to almost 2%, and significant growth is expected in the period ahead, as evidenced in markets such as Spain and Germany where these products are now over 10% of market share.
“Further, the marketing of these products is regulated by strict ASAI guidelines, which the industry proudly abides by. The ASAI guidelines make it clear that these products must be clearly distinct from alcohol variants and cannot target children, so Alcohol Action Ireland are being totally disingenuous in their claims here.
“When it comes to marketing, Ireland has some of the strictest regulation in the world, underpinned by codes, with extremely high compliance rates from industry.
“It is disappointing that Alcohol Action Ireland would seek to discourage growth when they should be welcoming it. Ultimately their position shows an anti-industry bias rather than an objective evidence-based view.”