AN alcohol charity has slammed David Beckham after he signed up to promote a new whisky.
The 38-year-old retired football has teamed up with manager Simon Fuller and drinks company Diageo to launch Haig Club, a new single grain Scotch whisky.
As well as developing the brand, Beckham has been given tasked with promoting a “responsible drinking programme” for the spirit.
But Alcohol Concern has expressed its “disappointment” that the sports star has signed up to promote the product.
The charity said that the move would send mixed messages to children.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that David Beckham, a global icon who has wide appeal to children has chosen to use his sports star image to promote spirits,” said Emily Robinson, deputy chief executive of Alcohol Concern.
“Given David Beckham’s other roles promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle to children, we believe this will send a confusing message to them about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on a healthy lifestyle and we call on the star to rethink his association with this product.”
In a press notice launching the product, David Gates, Diageo’s global head of premium core spirits, said: “David Beckham and Simon Fuller are renowned for breaking boundaries and shaking up markets in every sector in which they work. We are immensely proud to partner with them on our first large scale grain whisky innovation.”
Beckham added: “The House of Haig has a rich history and I’m proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years. Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to collaborating on Haig Club, valuing and treasuring the Haig traditions while reinventing this whisky for years to come.”
Mr Fuller added: “This is a long term commitment. It is important to us that we create something unique and of great quality. With Haig Club we have an opportunity to push boundaries and help shape how Scotch will be perceived in the future, it’s an exciting proposition.”
In response to the comments from the charity, a Diageo spokeswoman said: “Diageo and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously. As well as abiding by all laws and industry codes, Diageo has our own, very stringent, guidelines on responsible marketing of our brands.
“David will lead the promotion of the responsible drinking programme for Haig Club, which is at the heart of the brand and we could not ask for a stronger ambassador for the campaign.
“We have always been completely clear in our view that alcohol should only be consumed by adults and we do not want underage drinkers as consumers.”