A national wholesaler has rebuffed attempts by police chiefs to persuade it to stop making super-strength lager and cider available to thousands of convenience retailers in the latest attempt to limit street drinking.
Police approached Booker’s Portsmouth depot asking managers not to stock products including Carlsberg Special Brew.
The city is the latest to follow Ipswich by introducing a voluntary scheme urging retailers to stop sales of products with an ABV of 6.5% or more.
Research by RN data partner EDFM shows that sales of strong lager and cider are worth £80 a week to the average UK c-store.
RN understands that this is the first time a national wholesaler has been asked to stop supplying a specified list of products to retail customers.
Booker said it supported responsible drinking but refused to stop wholesaling the products on the grounds that it serves thousands of outlets in Hampshire where there is no nuisance.
A Booker spokesman said: “By removing the products from sale, a great number of customers would be affected that are not experiencing any anti-social behaviour. We do not determine what products our customers sell.”
Retailers have been more vocal in their criticism of the council’s tactic and say it is unfairly trying to limit the range of products they sell.
Nigel Swan, of Clapps News, Hayling Island, said: “Super-strength is not a big seller for me but I like to have the choice to stock what I want and trying to impose a ban by targeting wholesalers is total overkill.” NFRN members have held a meeting with the council but say they are reluctant to agree to the scheme unless all multiple groups come on board.
A spokesman for Portsmouth City Council said: “Booker was approached as a distributor of super-strength alcohol in Portsmouth but it became evident that it could not assist us due to covering a larger area than just Portsmouth.”