9th April, 2014 by Lauren Eads
David Beckham has been criticised by an alcohol awareness charity for sending a “confusing message” to children after announcing the launch of a whisky in partnership with drinks giant Diageo and TV producer Simon Fuller.
Photo credit: H&M
The Haig Club bottle takes cues from the fragrance industry
Diageo announced yesterday the launch of Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky – a brand that Beckham is set to play a “fundamental” role in developing.
As well as developing the brand, the 38-year-old will also promote a “responsible drinking programme” for the spirit, however drinks charity Alcohol Concern has urged father-of-four to pull out of the deal calling his decision to endorse the product “disappointing”.
Emily Robinson, deputy chief executive of Alcohol Concern said: “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.
“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.”
Launching the partnership yesterday Beckham said he was “proud” to be working with a “home-grown” brand with a heritage spanning more than 400 years.
In response to the charity’s concerns, Diageo said in a statement: “We and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously.
“David will lead the promotion of the responsible drinking programme. 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.”
Francis Ingham, director general of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) said: “The news of Diageo’s new whisky brand with David Beckham was handled smartly and anticipated potential criticism.
“They included the announcement of a dedicated Corporate Social Responsibility programme around responsible drinking, which would also be fronted by Beckham. Diageo – which subscribes to the PRCA’s code of conduct – has invested hugely in responsible drinking initiatives, as it rightly realises that alcohol misuse is damaging to its own reputation.”
The House of Haig is Scotland’s oldest grain whisky distillery dating back to the 17th century.
In addition to Haig Club, the House of Haig also produces Haig Blended Scotch Whisky and Dimple Scotch Whisky.