CAMRA asks BBC to stop using images of real ale to illustrate stories about binge drinking

Jamie Johnson
CAMRA says that there should be more focus on the more prevalent causes of binge drinking - such as the availability of cheap supermarket booze, rather than real ale - Getty Images Contributor

The Campaign for Real Ale has asked the BBC to stop using images of cask ales to illustrate stories about binge drinking.

In a package on the rising costs associated with alcohol abuse broadcast on BBC East Midlands' Today programme, a shot of Harvest Pale being poured was shown alongside unconscious people being treated by paramedics, the group say.

The programme is no longer available to view online, but Castle Rock Brewery, who make the pale ale hit out at the organisation saying it was an “ill-considered choice of library shot” and that “pubs, bars and 'beer' are all tarred with the same brush and demonised via association with binge drinking.”

CAMRA has backed up the Nottingham brewery, saying there “should be more focus on the more prevalent causes of binge drinking - such as the availability of cheap supermarket booze.”

The group’s national chairman, Nik Antona, said: "It is completely right for Castle Rock Brewery to call on the BBC and other media outlets to stop misrepresenting cask ale and traditional pubs by tarring them with the brush of irresponsible drinking.

CAMRA argue that supermarket spirits should be associated with binge drinking, rather than real ale consumed in pubs Credit: Glow Images, Inc

"Traditional pubs are the home of responsible drinking, providing a safe, supervised and social environment to enjoy a drink. Cask ale itself has a lower ABV than wine or spirits, and represents a moderate drink of choice."

The BBC are understood to have spoken to the brewery privately, but declined to issue a public statement.

The latest figures show that almost one in four adults in the UK now chooses not to drink alcohol, according to a Lancet study.

The investigation found that since 1990, per capita consumption has dropped by almost 10 per cent in the UK, from 12.6 to 11.4 litres of pure alcohol per year.  

The current figure equates to an average of 22 units a week per person - far beyond the recommended limit of 14 units per week.

However, much of this is consumed by the most hardened drinkers, with almost a third of all alcohol sold in England consumed by just 4 per cent of the population, separate statistics show.

Just one in seven women and one in four men in the UK drink more than 14 units weekly.