Tuesday 18 August 2009

Portman Pillocks

Portman group again.

Whatever you think of Tokyo* as a beer, nobody who has drunk it thinks it's going to cause any type of alcohol related problems.

The Portman group is an industry controlled organisation looking to protect the large multinational companies.

Tokyo* is a highly flavoured barley wine that cannot be necked and is too expensive to pose any risk to society. Also, if I understand correctly, there are only 1000 bottles in the country, it's a limited edition. I have 29 left, which I'm hoping I don't sell because there is one for each of mine and Ann's birthdays, plus one for each Christmas between now and the best before date.


Curmudgeon said...

To be fair, the prohibitionist fakecharity killjoys of "Alcohol Focus Scotland" have made a complaint which the Portman Group are currently investigating – they haven't yet delivered an adjudication.

StringersBeer said...

AFS are pretty hardcore - they hold that "there needs to be a culture shift and long-term behaviour change
so that drunks are not tolerated and are viewed as pariahs."

That's "drunks" as in: I drink in moderation, You should keep an eye on your units, He / She is a drunk.

Seriously tho, objecting to marketing on strength is exactly the sort of thing they're expected to do. They're also very pro minimum pricing.

I'm guessing that a lot of folk get p*ssed up because (their) life is sh*t, not just because hearing about a strong beer has suddenly given them an idea for a fantastic new way to spend their disposable income. So I think it might take more than a shift in our cultural attitudes to booze.

Ed said...

I'm sure brewdog will lap it up. They seem to work on the basis that any publicity is good publicity.

Unknown said...

Ed, BrewDog "Lap it up" woof, woof!

Anyway, I don't know. James seems genuinely concerned about it. I know plenty of people who think it's all part of his marketing ploy, maybe it is, perhaps he's laughing all the way to the bank off the free publicity and good luck to him if that's the case.

However, there seems to be some sincerity behind his concerns over the Portman group.

I believe it will achieve nothing other than provide a smoke screen for the large companies that fund the group.

Tandleman said...

Maybe James is inadvertently providing the smoke for the screen? Just a thought.

Unknown said...

Tandleman, yes, I can see that might be the case. I don't think James would be happy to think of it that way.

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

The spirit of John Calvin is alive and in AFS. Wouldn’t surprise me if they also believed in predestination. Oh well, I’m off to have my Tuesday night binge drink.

Rob said...

Its true the portman group are obviously a working sector for what I would call 'the dark side of the brewing force'. But you have to admit that what brewdog did was set the bait for portman to strike, and the amout of controversy that this has all caused has led to debates where the views of the craft brewing world have been expressed strongly to halt this darth sector. On the positive side of this it is allowing the craft brewing world to take its views further afield to those less knowlagable in craft brewing.

Rob Sterowski said...

I never thought I'd be defending the Portman Group, but the villains here are, as Curmudgeon points out, the government-funded prohibitionist crackpots Alcohol Focus Scotland. If you look at the history of complaints on the Portman website, baseless, frivolous complaints such as this one do tend to get thrown out. Which is what I fully expect to see happen here.

StringersBeer said...

In fairness, AFS aren't really prohibitionists - see here.
Of course the paranoid would say that they're secret prohibitionists, thin end of wedge, blah, blah.

And also: Of course it's a marketing ploy! Blimey.

Rob Sterowski said...

Whatever they might write about change in culture and what not, all their concrete proposals revolve around making alcohol more expensive and more difficult to obtain. I get the overriding impression that they regard alcohol as a drug, which one only consumes to get drunk, and beer as just one of several delivery mechanisms. This is, of course, also precisely the problem with drunks.

StringersBeer said...

While we continue to partition the world of matter into "drugs" and "not drugs", there's always going to be some debate about where to put booze.

Some drinking behaviours do seem to be pretty unhealthy (and costly), so I guess you can understand why nice people would want to "help" the poor people who engage in those behaviours.

The PG give the impression of being mainly concerned with keeping the image of the industry clean. Of course, a large part of that industry does seem to be perfectly happy making piles of money by selling flavoured aqueous solutions of ethanol to anyone with the right money, and by doing that they play into the hands of the booze=alcohol=drug=bad crowd.

This all pretty much guarantees that if you make a play on the strength of your product, somebody like AFS will complain to PG or elsewhere - and that will generate column inches - and no-one's going to convince me that that came as any surprise to BrewDog. They're clever boys you know, degrees and everything.

Unknown said...

Barm & Stringers, Alchohol is is a drug, but then so is coffee, chocolate, tea, hops (soporific) and many other natural substances.

Peoples drinking habits though are quite complex. Perhaps I might tackle that, again, before long.

"A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function" - wikipedia

So, prunes and chillis count as well. We should ban prunes!!

Clever because they have a degree? I have one too, you see, that counts for nowt.

StringersBeer said...

Ah but, Dave, the difference between what we define as "food" and "drug" is important - I gather that in the US (federal law) drugs are stuff which isn't food. In the US I believe "drugs" specifically exclude "malt beverages".

Over here - well I dunno - I'm sure some people would be happy to see a new class of controlled substances to include alcohol & its mixtures.

And for goodness sake keep quiet about the hops. Related to nettles. Yes, nettles. Just nettles. Nothing to see here.

Rob Sterowski said...

Yes, it's a drug, but it's not just a drug, is the point I was trying to make. Otherwise we'd all just be pouring vodka into our eyes like idiot students do.

Fancy a nice afternoon in the beer garden in the shade of a chestnut tree? Think again: "Drinking outside increases your chances of
having an accident or falling asleep outdoors and freezing to death(hypothermia)." (from a leaflet published by the Scottish Government)