Drinks trade fights minimum pricing with 'Why should we pay more?' campaign

The wine and spirits industry is mustering a two-pronged public affairs and consumer PR fight against David Cameron's attempt to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

Showing bottle: WSTA is taking on the PM over minimum pricing
Showing bottle: WSTA is taking on the PM over minimum pricing

With the Home Office considering proposals to set a floor price of 45p per alcohol unit, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association is attempting to mobilise public opinion. 

It has brought in Tetra Strategy and consumer agency Beige to help reach the public with a campaign taglined ‘Why should we pay more?’. 

The trade body is fighting the proposals on behalf of its 340 members, which include all four major supermarkets and drinks giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard. 

The issue pits the association against health bodies, including the British Medical Association, which claim minimum pricing is necessary to reduce binge drinking. 

The WSTA awarded the six-month project to its existing public affairs agency Tetra Strategy, which teamed up with Beige in a pitch against four other agencies. 

Tetra and Beige have launched a ‘Why should we pay more?’ website, Facebook page and Twitter account. The activity encourages people to sign a petition and contact their MP to express their opposition. 

The aim is to feed this groundswell of support into the political calculations surrounding the proposals. 

Cameron has championed minimum pricing despite Whitehall opposition, reportedly including Home Office minister Jeremy Browne. 

This week, London Mayor Boris Johnson swelled the ‘anti’ ranks by criticising the policy as ‘regressive’ and claiming it ‘hits poorest people hardest’. 

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said the organisation had fully bought into Terra’s plan to run a co-ordinated campaign including elements of media management, social media, consumer PR and politics. 

He added: ‘Tetra’s expertise can support our campaign to persuade politicians to drop what would prove an ineffective policy that represents an unfair attack on people’s pockets.’ 

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