December 23, 2008

Police stop the wine in Scottish village

Police have halted one Scottish village's budding festive tradition of shopkeepers handing out mulled wine to customers at Christmas.

The business owners in Anstruther were told they must obtain alcohol licenses before they offer any free booze, The Scotsman reported Wednesday.

The tradition is not an ancient one by Scottish standards since it only began 17 years ago. But shopkeepers say it is a nice way of thanking their customers for their loyalty during the year.

Martin Dibley, who owns a pet shop and is also a local official, called the police position a bit of bah humbug. He said police claims that handing out wine encourages drunkenness are misguided since, in the small fishing village on the east coast, most shopkeepers know their customers.

Giving adults a glass of spicy mulled wine to celebrate Christmas can hardly be compared to throwing vodka down a teenager's throat, another storeowner said. The whole thing was hardly done in the Christmas spirit.