C&C Group has said that it supports the introduction of minimum unit pricing on alcohol products in Ireland (and Scotland), because "as a local company, we understand the needs of the communities in which we play a part."
The Bulmers parent made the statement as it 'resigned' from its role with the Portman Group, a UK-based lobby group established by leading alcohol producers, which promotes responsible drinking and the prevention of alcohol misuse.
Commenting on the move, Paul Bartlett, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at C&C, said: "We informed the Portman Group last year that we planned to resign in order to focus our resources on a strategy of investing in community projects rather than industry lobbying."
Bartlett added: "Sadly the Portman Group has moved away from its founding principles and is now dominated by the large multi-national drink companies with an agenda at odds with our colleagues in the wider UK industry. On this basis we feel it's time to leave."
The Portman Group, which includes drinks firms such as Heineken, Diageo, Carlsberg, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard, responded by saying that C&C, which joined the Portman Group in 2010, made its intentions to leave clear a year ago, and that yesterday's announcement merely reflected the approaching conclusion of a one-year notice period.
“C&C Group Plc tendered a withdrawal notice to the Portman Group last year on 21 June 21, 2013, citing that they wished 'to focus directly on local issues'," the group said. "All Portman Group members are bound by a one year notice period and C&C Group’s will end on June 30, 2014.
“It is factually incorrect to say that C&C Group have 'just' resigned from the Portman Group – they informed us a year ago that they wished to end their membership."