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Issue 46 - Treat us with respect

Whisky Magazine Issue 46
March 2005


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Treat us with respect

How should the industry react over the issue of responsible drinking?

The Panel
Abigail Bosanko, author and whisky enthusiast (AB)
Chuck Cowdrey, American whiskey writer (CKC)
Keir Sword, proprietor, Royal Mile Whiskies (KS)

Q. There is a growing view that society is becoming more litigious and governments are increasingly taking responsibility for society's well being, perhaps at the expense of individualism. Is this a threat to whisky?

CKC: First, I think it is great that you are asking these questions. The industry, including the enthusiast community, should talk about these issues. Obviously, it isn't about whisky per se, but whisky can easily be swept up in new regulations aimed at all spirits products or at beverage alcohol in general.

AB: Yes, but whisky is an independent spirit and has thrived despite government attempts to suppress or depress the market – whether through means of taxation, prohibition or general sanctimony.

Q. Are moves to put warnings and guides to sensible drinking on bottles of alcohol a good thing, or are they likely to further ‘ghetto-ise' spirits drinkers?

AB: They're patronising. Such warnings carry the tone of a tee-total maiden aunt who assumes that alcohol is the road to ruin and those who take a drink are probably reckless, silly people who need to be told to behave themselves.

CKC: I think warnings are wrong in principle because they suggest that any product with a warning label on it is uniquely dangerous and products without such warnings are perfectly safe, both of which assumptions could be fa...

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