Free samples of Scotch Whisky to continue

As part of the Scottish Government’s attempts to change Scotland’s attitude to alcohol, restrictions on promotional activities have been suggested.

However, those involved in the Scotch Whisky industry have raised concerns that such restrictions might signal the end for the traditional complementary dram at the end of tours – leading to a reduction in visitor numbers.

To the relief of single malt fans the world over, the Scottish Government has reassured everyone that free tour drams would be protected. A spokesman quoted on the BBC News website said: “We can be absolutely clear that changing the arrangements whereby distilleries can offer a dram to visitors during a tour is not something we are considering.”

What is less clear is why free whisky in distillery tours should be in a different category from (say) cut price alcopops in supermarkets, or 2 for 1 cider in the corner shop. I’ve seen that episode of “Still Game” where Victor and Jack conduct their own distillery crawl – a very dangerous example of binge-drinking indeed.

Seriously, though. What’s the difference? The whisky is considerably stronger that the alcopop, but seems to have a social acceptance which its younger cousin lacks. Do we have problem drinkers, or just problem drinks?

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