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Brewers question Tesco strong alcohol deal

Some brewers in Scotland have criticised the deal that has reportedly been made between Tesco and West Dumbartonshire Council, that will see the supermarket chain ban the sale of some strong drinks.

Tesco will apparently stop selling beers, ciders and alcopops with an abv above 5.5% in order to see the new store in West Dumbartonshire granted a licence.

But with the sale of wines and spirits unaffected by the deal, some brewers have questioned the validity and the motive behind the deal.

Gerald Michaluk, who brews at 6% abv beer at his Arran Brewery, has said it is “nonsensical” that his award-winning beer will be banned from this particular Tesco store.

He told the Herald Scotland: “This is absolutely nonsensical. A bottle of wine is has an abv of 12%, and if I was in the area and I wanted to get drunk I would just go and get a bottle of that.

“I’m very surprised if this would get past European competition regulations. It hurts Scottish producers and its almost like they are saying ‘go and buy French products – ignore local brewers’.

“We produce a Scottish beer which has been voted the best in the country, yet we can’t sell it there. It’s just a mad idea.”

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said: “Tesco offered up these concessions. We did not impose them.

“We have Scotland’s toughest licensing regulations and Tesco came to the board in the knowledge that there is a robust regulation, and offered up a few unusual solutions that you might not have expected in order to take account of the different environment in West Dunbartonshire.”

Last week a Tesco spokesman said: “As a responsible retailer of alcohol, we work closely with local councils and the police to address any concerns raised in the communities where we operate.

“Where the local authority or police have concerns over high-strength products, they have added conditions to our licence with which we comply.”

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