Spirits Europe hits out at Luxembourg’s alcohol proposal

11th March, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Trade body Spirits Europe has written to the Luxembourg government to advise against its “misguided” proposal to raise the legal purchasing age for spirits, but not for wine or beer.

The Luxembourg government has proposed raising the minimum purchasing age for spirits

Currently, the minimum age to buy beer, wine and spirits in Luxembourg is 16. However, the Ministry for Health and Economic Affairs in the country is considering raising the legal purchasing age for spirits to 18.

The ministry does not plan to alter the purchasing age for beer or wine, which industry body Spirits Europe warned could “mislead consumers to believe that beer or wine are in some way different from spirits”.

Ulrich Adam, director general of Spirits Europe, said: “Raising the legal purchasing age for spirits risks sending a message to young people that they can drink beer and wine with less risk. It is not true and it is dangerous.

“All alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation, by those who are of age, and we must ensure that we do not mislead consumers to believe that any alcohol is healthier than another, or acceptable for those underage.”

According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures cited by Spirits Europe, 80% of alcohol consumed is Luxembourg is either beer or wine, and only 20% is spirits.

Additionally, a report commissioned by the European Commission showed that 66% of alcohol consumed by young people across the EU was from categories other than spirits, and beer was the most popular category for young people.

Adam continued: “Any measure targeting spirits alone would ignore two-thirds of alcohol consumption by young people, which demonstrates why this proposal is misguided.

“Europeans are drinking more and more responsibly, and proposals such as this could work against this trend by sending a message to those underage that it’s acceptable to drink alcohol, when it is not. We hope that the government will reconsider this proposal and we are ready to work with them to tackle harmful drinking in a sensible way.”

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