New backlash forces Spar to put launch of own-label alcopop on ice

Grocery chain Spar has abandoned all immediate plans to launch an own-label alcopop range after an enormous backlash against the flavoured alcoholic drinks.

Allegations that the drinks are being deliberately marketed to children are now rife. Home Secretary Jack Straw has demanded an urgent investigation and one tabloid newspaper has called for a ban.

Spar marketing controller Keith Webb says: “Suppliers are falling over themselves to provide us with our own alcopop. We get offers daily.

“But we suspected some time ago there may be a backlash and have taken a commercial decision not to sell one. In the light of the recent furore, it is not at the top of our list of new product development priorities.”

Spar sells a variety of own-label liquor lines, and has had considerable success with its range of five lagers, called Drought Busters, and its 180-strong wine range.

Supermarket chains Asda, Safeway and Sainsbury’s all sell their own versions of alcopops.

Spar estimates it will sell more than 1 million cases of its own-label lagers by the end of its financial year this month.

Spar is currently promoting itself as the UK’s biggest off-licence chain.

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