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“Hackathon to tackle problem drinking” and “bauble-shaped glasses to boost spirits sales”


In the latest example of alcohol industry doublethink, the international spirits giant Diageo – owners of Smirnoff, Johnny Walker and Captain Morgan – have launched two new initiatives: one to reduce drinking the other to increase it.

On the weekend of 8-9 November, the company will host a hackathon, in which 60 computer coders across Europe will be challenged to create digital tools to encourage responsible drinking. The event will be reported via @Diageo_News and #GoodNightHack. (Although some cynics might regard the enticing array on booze on the event website as more of an advert for alcohol than warning to take is easy).

At the same time as going on line to promote responsibility, Diageo is giving 5,000 publicans special kits to get punters drinking more spirits. The kits include bauble-shaped cups and Christmas-tree-shaped trays. Faith Holland of Diageo has described the festive season as a “massive opportunity for licensees to maximise their spirits sales”.

Not to be outdone, Pernod Ricard are suggesting that festive diners swap their usual pudding for an alcoholic drink, and add alcohol to their hot drinks. It’s all about “making Christmas special” according company spokesman Ian Peart.

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