‘Cold turkey’ morning beer brews controversy

David Gladwin with his controversial beer. Picture: Peter Jolly
David Gladwin with his controversial beer. Picture: Peter Jolly
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A controversial beer is brewing up a storm for targeting morning drinkers. Campaigners fear the Cold Turkey Breakfast Beer produced by the Black Isle Brewery will encourage alcoholism.

But brewery owner David Gladwin defended the marketing ploy, claiming the drink was low alcohol – at 2.8 per cent - and “designed for people who appreciate what they are drinking”.

And he argued many shift workers and those who work throughout the night, including fishermen, were entitled to enjoy a drink after their hard graft.

He said that it was the “polar opposite” to the type of alcohol commonly associated with drinking problems, adding: “If, like me, you are up very early in the morning and you fancy a low alcohol beer with your eggs and ham, I don’t see a problem with that.”

But Dr Evelyn Gillan, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Alcohol related harm remains at historically high levels in Scotland – these harms affect not only the drinker but also those around them, such as children and families.

“With this in mind, whilst we welcome the production of lower strength alcohol products, using a marketing tactic such as this to encourage people to drink alcohol for breakfast is irresponsible.”

Richard Burkitt, who is the director of For the Right Reasons, an Inverness charity which helps people with drink and drug problems, said: “I would not encourage people to drink alcohol at breakfast time. If you are drinking at breakfast time, you have a problem and you are an alcoholic. And you need to seek help.”

Mr Burkitt said it was the marketing of the beer that was irresponsible.

Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson said Black Isle Brewery was an “innovative” company who sometimes come up with “interesting angles” to sell the beers.

He said: “All I would say is that, people should be very careful about drinking alcohol especially in the morning, it’s not a habit I would be encouraging.

“But if the name is just a publicity stunt, then it might well work for them. And it might appeal to certain folk, some people who come off night shift or whatever night have one beer at the end.”

However Mr Thompson warned: “All alcohol consumption in Scotland is growing, people need to be very careful as there is a high price to pay for excess alcohol consumption.”

The Black Isle Brewery’s website states: “For those who wish to enjoy a pint or two without feeling guilty about drinking a stronger beer, the Black Isle Brewery have developed a lower alcohol breakfast beer.”

And Mr Gladwin added:

“I agree with responsible drinking, and this beer is designed with that in mind. It is designed with those people who appreciate their drink, and who match it with what they eat.

He said that the market had been aimed at post-Christmas drinkers, adding: “We felt the time was right to launch a low alcohol beer after the recent trend for strong beers.

He added: “Most of us have that feeling of over-indulgence at this time of year so we have called it Cold Turkey as a reference to that stage of weaning oneself off something that might have become a bit of a habit and a Breakfast Beer style, not only to convey the character of the beer, but also the suitability for drinking anytime.

“It’s actually far more difficult to brew a really good light beer than a strong beer because they often taste so insipid, but this beer tastes of toast and grapefruit, with a passion fruit and mango aroma.”

The Black Isle Brewery was founded in 1998 and has been producing some of the finest Organic Beers ever since.

They were winners of the coveted Soil Association Organic Food and Drink awards in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and SIBA Champion Beer of Scotland in 2009, their UK market has steadily grown as they rapidly become the country’s top organic beer brand.