Drinks industry raises the standard on alcohol retailing

Drinks retailers in the UK have agreed to work together to produce and promote good practice guidance on the responsible retailing of alcohol through the WSTA-supported Retail of Alcohol Standards Group.

Working in partnership with Government, drinks producers and retailers have agreed to a substantial package of pledges under the Responsibility Deal aimed at tackling alcohol misuse and promoting responsible drinking in the UK.

The new set of pledges, agreed to at a summit of leading Government and industry figures, is designed to tackle the complex problem of alcohol misuse in the UK.

The other new pledges include; industry support through targeted partnership schemes for areas with high alcohol-related harms, a review of the number of alcohol units contained in cans of carbonated products, training for 10,000 bar staff in the responsible retailing of alcohol, funding for an independent alcohol education trust and a commitment to offer lower alcohol house wines and beers in pubs. 

Commenting on the pledges, WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale said: 

“Tackling alcohol-related harm is a key priority for the drinks industry and we are pleased that WSTA members have taken a leading role in developing a further set of practical measures designed to tackle the complex problem of alcohol misuse in the UK. 

The commitment to develop good practice guidance for the responsible retailing of alcohol represents an unprecedented level of co-operation between retailers.

These exciting pledges show that by working with industry the Government can achieve a great deal as we continue to build a culture of more responsible drinking in the UK.”  

WSTA Chairman, Nick Hyde said:

“The latest round of voluntary pledges represent a package of wide-ranging, substantial and targeted measures that seek to bring about positive change. 

The drinks industry is playing an important role, alongside Government and others, in promoting responsible drinking and it is pleasing to see the industry’s continued commitment to delivering meaningful action.” 

Notes to Editors:

A copy of the Home Office’s statement can be found at the following link:

A copy of the latest Responsibility Deal pledges on alcohol can be found at the following link on the Department of Health’s website:

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group brings together the major UK retailers and is focused on tackling underage sales of alcohol and promoting the responsible retailing of alcohol. RASG, which is administered by the WSTA, has helped to establish and drive both Community Alcohol Partnerships and Challenge 25, which have had a significant impact in tackling underage drinking.

The RASG guidance on the responsible retailing of alcohol will:

  • Touch on all aspects of the retail of alcohol including; promotion, placement, identification, underage sales and advertising;

  • Set out the legal, self-regulatory and voluntary measures in place for each of these aspects; ·         Seek to share best practice and establish a set of principles for the responsible retailing of alcohol;

  • Work across the wide range of store formats, producing appropriate guidance on best practice to suit each format;

  • The guidance won’t be a regulatory framework, which will avoid adding further costly burden onto businesses;

  • Will ensure RASG support and advice for retailers seeking to improve their retail practices - including when challenged as irresponsible;

  • Be produced by the end of December 2014. 

About the WSTA:

The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirits industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, exporting, transporting and selling wines and spirits. We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.


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