New confines on wine


An article in The Times today will surely disappoint many wine lovers throughout the country. The new Crime Bill, which is to be published next week, will include a ban on cut-price drink promotions in an effort to curb irresponsible drinking. The bill will bring about an end to “buy-one-get-one-free" deals and will stop the practice of allowing women to drink free of charge. It will require clubs and pubs to serve wine in smaller glasses as well. The Home Office has also resolved not to ban “happy hours" in pubs and bars throughout England and Wales. But don’t get too excited, the department may decide to give local councils the ability to outlaw them in their respective regions.

This legislation is just a small episode in the series of government restrictions on alcohol and smoking that people have suffered over the past few years. Considering the institution of the smoking ban in pubs and restaurants in July 2007, proposals to tighten pub licensing laws, and talks of allowing bars to only fill two thirds of each pint, it is safe to say that the government is becoming bolder in its attempts at regulation.

Many, including the wine industry, argue that this and other bills will affect moderate drinkers as well, causing them to unjustly suffer the same restrictions and higher prices. It has been established that excessive drinking can lead to crime and disorder, but the measures the government is taking will not be effective in stopping someone keen on drinking him or herself into oblivion. Alcoholics will drink whether or not they can get two beers for the price of one. In the meantime, those who enjoy a glass of wine or a pint every so often are left to suffer.