20060216

Brits banning smoking in pubs, elsewhere


If you're a smoker headed for England, enjoy lighting up in a pub, restaurant or any other public place for now. That activity will be banned in a year or less.

Parliament has voted, 384 to 184, for a total ban on smoking in indoor public places, something that will end the tradition of the smoky British pub.

Neighbor Ireland instituted the same ban in March 2004. The same will occur in Scotland and Northern Ireland over the next year, and factions in Wales are debating the issue.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government had supported a partial ban that still would have allowed smoking in private members' clubs and pubs that do not serve food.

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20060210

Stockpile the Beamish, boys


Fans of Beamish stout, produced by the tiny Cork brewery that purportedly is the oldest in Ireland, better lay in a supply in a hurry.

Likewise for those whose tastes run to John Courage Amber Lager and McEwan's IPA.

Scottish & Newcastle PLC, the United Kingdom's largest brewing conglomerate and owner of those brands, has decided to stop exporting them to the United States. Instead, it will concentrate on sales of its Newcastle Brown Ale and McEwan's Scotch Ale.

The Denver, Milwakuee and Philadelphia area markets are 1-2-3 in U.S. consumption of Beamish, which generally runs about $20 a half-keg cheaper than Guinness.

"It's really just a focusing of our initiative that we've got going on globally and in the U.S. market. We're streamlining the U.S. portfolio," Bill Wetmore told Philly.com. He is the marketing director for Scottish & Newcastle Importers, the U.S. subsidiary of the brewing conglomerate.

Beamish, which began brewing stout in 1792, has struggled to maintain sales in both the domestic and foreign markets against the gigantic Guinness which owns 88 percent of the stout market.

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