Alcoholic Breakfast – Responsible Alcohol Retailing?

JD Wetherspoon

Even at my lowest level of alcoholism I still did not like drinking on my own first thing in the morning.

Allthough I often did it, opening a can of beer at home whilst  most people were tucking into their bacon and eggs or a bowl of Alpen still registered as wrong somehow. Perhaps it was a confirmation of my condition that I didn’t want to acknowledge.

For a long time, I held off early morning drinking. If there was a beer left in the fridge from the night before I’d drink it, but queuing up in in Tecsos first thing in the morning with a basket full of beers, praying that I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew, was a step too far for me.

So I got into the habit of staying in bed just long enough so that, by the time I got up, dressed and tidied myself up a bit, there would be a pub open somewhere at 11.00am.

JD WetherspoonThat was until I discovered JD Wetherspoon. Aparantly winners of awards for being a responsible drinks retailer (Their website), JD Wetherspoon pubs open at 07.00am and start serving alcohol at 9.00am.

Joy of joys. Now I could drink in the mornings with others who were drinking as well. It must be OK to do this because I’m not drinking on my own.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, JD Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin said it is wrong to put the blame for young out of control drinkers at the door of landlords and pub chains.

Sorry Tim, but have you ever been in one of your pubs first thing in the morning?

When I discovered that a pub was serving alcohol at 09.00am in the morning it was like finding an oasis in the desert. Not only could I get a nice cold pint of strong lager for breakfast, I could drink it with other like minded soles as well.

If you ever do go into a pub at 09.00am you won’t find it full of families enjoying their Full English but what you will find is a group of regulars all enjoying their first drink of the day.

There will, no doubt, be a smattering of people grabbing a bite to eat on their way to work, but the regualr customers will be the ‘Sound as a pound’ crew. This will be the small group of ‘good old boys’ sat together around a table, starting the day as they do every day, with a few bevvies with their mates.

They generally don’t cause any trouble and they’re good business. On benefits day they may be stay for the duration or they may just move off quietly to another pub later.

You can argue that an alcoholic will find a drink anyway and that it’s not the fault of JD Wetherspoon but I would argue that providing a nice, cosy environment for alcoholics to start their drinking together  first thing in the mornings is not responsible drinks retailing.

And now, JD Wetherspoon are opening pubs at motorway service stations as well: (BBC Web Site)

JD Wetherspoon

Drivers should know by now not to drink and drive and there are pubs everywhere around the country so what’s wrong with this?

The sole purpose of a motorway is driving. You don’t walk on it, you don’t catch a bus and you don’t ride your bike down it, so why put a pub on it? So that drivers can drink of course.

Equally, why open an establishment licensed to sell intoxicating liquer at 09.00am in the morning?

So that the drinkers can drink, of course!.

Much to my eternal shame, I used to frequently drive whilst over the limit and, on long journeys home, I would often pull of the motorway to try and find a pub to top up. Now, it seems, you’ll eventually be able to do this every half hour or so.

Responsible retailing? I don’t think so.