THE owner of Tennent’s lager has warned that Tory changes to exclude glass from the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) could threaten Scotland’s best-selling beer.
Andrea Pozzi, GB Managing Director of C&C Group, sent a letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf and a Holyrood committee on Wednesday saying it could have “serious implications” for his firm, according to The Daily Record.
Scotland’s DRS is due to begin in March 2024, with the earlier start date forcing ministers to seek an exemption from UK-wide legislation which aims to ensure there are no trade barriers between the four nations.
The UK Government agreed the temporary extension from the Internal Market Act, but insisted the Scottish scheme cannot include glass so it matches the initiative in England, which is due to begin in 2025.
Yousaf previously said excluding glass could be at the “severe detriment” to Scottish brands like Irn-Bru and Tennent’s.
In the letter, Pozzi confirmed as much, writing: “The announcement further increases the already huge uncertainty around the scheme for the drinks industry, customers, and consumers and, if implemented, would be a fundamental change to the scheme.”
“By removing glass from a Scottish DRS, Tennent’s, as a product sold in can in the Scottish off-trade, would be at a significant competitive disadvantage, undermining our business and therefore placing jobs and investment at risk. The removal of glass will also result in a material reduction of consumer choice.”
C&C’s position is for the introduction of a UK-wide DRS scheme coming in at the same time across all four nations.
The firm added that a Scottish-only scheme should include glass, PET and aluminium.
Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell told The Daily Record: “Tennent’s really have got the Tory party down to a T. While they are trying to kick the DRS can down the road, iconic Scottish brands understandably want to be able to do the right thing. Glass should be a part of it.
“This could have been sorted out if the UK Government had granted the Internal Market Act exemption as was requested. It is now for them to explain to business why they have opted to treat Scotland with such contempt.”