Bavaria helping drive home the benefits of alcohol free beer in time for Christmas
The Christmas TV adverts are causing a stir and the UK’s retailers are preparing for the largest consumer spending period of the year, with food and drink sales a significant proportion of Christmas spending, as people enjoy parties and festive activities with family and friends.
Despite an increase in sales of alcohol-free beers and wines, December also shows a significant increase in drink-driving offences, compared to any other month of year.
Although it’s now 50 years since the first anti-drink driving campaign and the number of convictions has dropped significantly in that time, the festive season remains a time when the authorities increase their efforts against offenders. Scotland is lowering the limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in time for Christmas, with many warning motorists not to get behind the wheel if they have drunk any alcohol whatsoever.
Rob Page, UK Managing Director for Dutch brewer Bavaria, believes the growth in sales of alcohol free beers, the efforts of the authorities to crack down and the drop in offences are inextricably linked: “As a brewer we understand the importance of drinking responsibly and that clearly includes not getting behind the wheel of a car.
“I believe the public attitude to drink-driving has changed significantly and irrevocably in the last fifty years, but there are those that still drive after ‘just a couple of beers, especially at Christmas, when the pressure to conform and enjoy a drink with friends, family and colleagues at after-work drinks, parties and festivities is greater.
“Worryingly, convictions have doubled for female motorists over the past 15 years, which implies that as the overall figures remain on a downward projection, men have really heeded warnings about being over the limit.
“We recently conducted our own research into the motivations behind people choosing to drink alcohol-free beers and 48% of respondents claimed to drink it because they were driving – so we know that alcohol-free beer plays its part.
“Bavaria has put a lot of effort into developing a varied range of alcohol-free beers to offer real choice to those wanting to avoid alcohol, for whatever reason, whilst still wanting to enjoy a great tasting beer. I believe increased choice will prove important in further reducing drink-driving. When bar and restaurant patrons have more than just one alcohol-free beer or wine to choose from, we have more chance of changing attitudes towards drinking and driving permanently, not just at Christmas.
“I hope more people try our alcohol-free beers during the festive season and those planning parties ensure the drivers enjoy a drink that makes them feel part of the fun without risking the serious consequences of drink-driving.”