ACMD Calls ‘Time’ On Brew Sponsorship

Mean Fiddler Music Group managing director Melvin Benn seemed to put it in perspective when he said, “It would appear that the government has not got enough to do.”

He was responding to the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs’ recommendation for the government to call time on brewers and ban them from sponsoring live music events.

The ACMD says alcohol adverts at music venues are contributing to an increase in drinking amongst young people. Benn reacted quickly by telling U.K. media, “Carling has been sponsor of Leeds and Reading for nine years with no downside on the state of the nation as I see it.”

Apart from sponsoring Leeds and Reading, branded as the “Carling Weekend,” the massive brewer also has its moniker all over the nationwide string of Academy Music Group venues that are attracting so much interest from Hamsard, the Live NationMCD alliance. The deal itself is attracting a fair amount of interest from the Office of Fair Trading, which has referred it to the Competition Commission.

The Advertising Standards Authority doesn’t appear to be taking the ACMD’s call for the government to boot out the brewers any more seriously than Benn did.

It said the U.K.’s regulations on advertising alcohol are already very tough, having been strengthened in 2004, and that the ASA receives very few complaints about alcohol advertising.

The Portman Group, which regulates the brewing industry, told The Independent that it’s satisfied with how the brewers adhere to its code of practice regarding sponsorship deals.

There’s so much brewery money being poured into live music, with millions enjoying the combination of good beer and good bands, it’s highly unlikely the government is going to be swayed into putting a stop to it.

The ACMD report says British children are some of the biggest cannabis, alcohol and tobacco users in Europe. It claims that young women’s consumption of alcohol has doubled in a little more than a decade. It also suggests a ban on alcohol advertising on television and in cinemas.

The government doesn’t have to look into all the ACMD’s proposals, although it is an influential body and its recommendations influenced ministers to reclassify cannabis.

– John Gammon