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Website helps drinkers tot up their units

Drinkers will soon be able to calculate how a night out measures up against government advice on sensible drinking.

The Portman Group, the organisation funded by the alcohol industry to promote sensible drinking, is launching the new site, today and wants consumers to be able to check accurately how many units they drink on a night out.

Rather than give information solely by drink type, as was the case in the past, the new site enables drinkers to check by brand, by serving size and by alcohol strength.

So a man who drinks four pints of Stella Artois and two 35ml singles of Jack Daniels would be told he consumed 14.8 units, compared with the government’s maximum daily male allowance of three to four units.

A woman who drinks three large glasses of Jacob’s Creek chardonnay would be given a total of 9.9 units, versus the maximum daily female allowance of two to three.

The website address will be carried on drink labels, as well as details of how many units that bottle or can contains. Newcastle Brown Ale and Carling lager will be the first brands to promote the website on their bottles. WKD and Bacardi-Martini will also follow suit.

A key focus of the Portman Group, funded by the major UK brewers and pub companies, is to promote responsible marketing - which it sees as crucial in protecting the commercial freedom of its members.

Portman Group members include Allied Domecq, owner of Beefeater Gin and Kahlua, Diageo, whose drinks portfolio includes Smirnoff and Guiness. Pubs and bars groups Mitchells and Butler, JD Wetherspoon and Enterprise Inns are also members.

Katherine Demopoulos

The Guardian - 13 November 2004
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