Addicts 'the market' for new beer

22:35, May 11 2011
Moa breakfast beer
BREAKFAST: Sampling a breakfast lager produced by Moa Brewing Co and marketed as Moa Breakfast.

The launch of a breakfast beer is "marketing alcohol to alcoholics", an addiction expert says.

Blenheim-based Moa has launched Moa Breakfast, a wheat-based lager designed to recreate a European-style breakfast beer.

Moa Brewing Co marketing manager Sunil Unka said promoting the new beer was no different to promoting a champagne breakfast.

"The beer is in smaller bottles than champagne is, and it has a lower [alcohol] percentage than champagne as well. And champagne breakfasts are enjoyed by quite a lot of people in New Zealand and around the world."

Unka described the beverage as a "fruity" tipple that was "commonly enjoyed ... as a mid-afternoon beverage".

A four-pack costs $33.99.

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However, National Addiction Centre director Doug Sellman said that "promoting alcohol at breakfast time is promoting morning drinking".

"And morning drinking is a classic sign of alcoholism, so it's basically marketing alcohol to alcoholics," he said.

"Every day $200,000 is spent on marketing alcohol and this beer just shows you how the Government does not recognise alcohol as a drug. It's treated like milk," he said.

On average there were 200 alcohol-related assaults every day in New Zealand. While most were physical assaults, some were sexual, Sellman said..

There were 20 alcohol-related deaths a week, he said.

The Press