Message on a bottle for binge drinkers

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Indy Lifestyle Online

One of Britain's best known beers, Newcastle Brown Ale, is to carry a message about the dangers of drinking to excess.

One of Britain's best known beers, Newcastle Brown Ale, is to carry a message about the dangers of drinking to excess.

The warning - the first time big British brewers have carried cigarette packet-style health advice on alcohol containers - will later be added to the best-selling lager Carling.

Printed on the side of cans, the warning reads: "UK alcohol limits. Responsible drinkers don't exceed 4 daily units (men) and 3 units (women)." Alongside is the number of alcohol units for the drink: 2.6.

Scottish Courage, which makes Newcastle Brown, said it wanted to discourage binge-drinking. John Dunsmore, the managing director, said: "Consumers in the UK are becoming more conscious of their alcohol intake thanks, in part, to having a better understanding of the alcohol unit labelling system. The introduction of 'sensible drinking' messages on bottles and cans alongside alcohol unit information will help individuals to make better informed decisions about their alcohol consumption."

The health warnings will then be rolled out across other Scottish Courage brands, which also include John Smith's bitter, as well as Foster's and Kronenbourg 1664 lagers. Coors has already started printing health advice on its Carling brand, with other of its products likely to follow.

Jean Coussins, chief executive of the industry-funded Portman Group, said: "This is a massive step forward towards ensuring people who choose to drink alcohol can understand fully the responsible drinking message, and can make well-informed choices as a result."

She added: "One of the challenges has been the difficulty of communicating a detailed and complex responsible drinking message, and how it applies differently to different people, on something as small as a drinks label."

Yesterday also saw the launch of another initiative aimed a curbing binge drinking, a website which enables drinkers to calculate their consumption of alcohol. However the site - www.drinkaware.co.uk - was quickly shut down by hackers.

The Portman Group, which funds the site, said: "At first we thought it was simply technical difficulties, but it seems to have been more than that.

"Some of those who have been able to log on have reported that they have suffered computer viruses."

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