Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Can the cans

May 22 2009
Extra-strength lager does not lead to irresponsible drinking, say the drinks industry coalition Extra-strength lager does not lead to irresponsible drinking, despite single cans exceeding the government's daily recommended units of alcohol, according to drinks manufacturer coalition The Portman Group. Thames Reach, the homeless charity, had complained that cans such as Skol Super, Kestrel Super, Carlsberg Special Brew and Tennent's Super - which contain 4.5 units, more than the three or four per day recommended for men - encouraged "immoderate consumption". But an independent panel on behalf of the Portman Group, which was formed to promote sensible drinking and represents manufacturers of some of these drinks, dismissed the charity's concerns. David Poley, chief executive of the Group, said: "While panel members appreciated Thames Reach's concerns, they decided that restricting container size would be inappropriate and liable to lead to inconsistencies." Poley said the panel understood the government's advice on units as "guidelines rather than strict limits". "The phrasing of the government's sensible drinking advice raises questions over the rationality of treating four units as a strict threshold," he said. "The panel also recognised the difficulties of distinguishing between cans of lager and bottles of wine or cider." Despite this, InBev, the manufacturer of Tennent's Super, has announced it will be discontinuing the 500ml cans in favour of 440ml. But the panel did find Kestrel Super in breach of the Group's code of practice because the strength of the drink was considered to be a dominant theme of its marketing. "This impression is reinforced by the prominent image of the kestrel", the group said. As a result, manufacturer Wells and Young's Brewing Company has agreed to "amend" its packaging.