The dangers of drinking were predictably back in the spotlight in January (new year, old news).


First up, new drinking guidelines were revealed, 14 units per week for men and women, then the Local Government Authority (LGA) called for makers of alcoholic drinks to put calorie information on packaging.

This is necessary, according to the LGA, because some people are unaware that drinking can contribute to weight gain.

For these people, newsflash: it does.

For those that already know it, newsflash: it might not be as bad as you think.

Research done into female views of beer some years ago, for example, revealed the majority thought a pint of beer was more fattening than a bowl of chips.

It is not – a pint of beer contains about 180 calories, on average; a bowl of chips is somewhere in the region of 800.

Dispelling such myths can only work in our favour. On top of that beer has many nutritional benefits, most of which both women and men are unaware. It is packed with good stuff like potassium, magnesium, selenium and is chock full of B vitamins, for example, while the benefits of the antioxidants found in red wine have been well documented.

We should not be frightened to arm people with such information. If that means they sink a few less bevvies in one sitting then so be it, promoting responsible drinking is a must for all of us in the alcohol industry these days.

Some of the big players are already on board – Diageo committed to putting nutritional information, including calories per serving, on brands back in March, while brewer AB InBev announced last month it would do the same for its beers.

And I think we can be sure (it's as predictable as a puritanical media storm in January) that more drinks companies will follow suit.

What's less predictable, perhaps, is that this could do more favours for our industry than damage.