In Brief

Drinking claims unfoundedPeer pressure to overdrink could be all in the mind, according to a survey by You Gov for the Department of Health. The poll of more than 2,000 adults suggested 22% who ended up drinking more than they’d intended blamed peer pressure, and 39% felt they had to make excuses to justify refusing a drink. But the survey found just 4% expect their friends to keep up with them when drinking.

Bitter harvestA new variety of hop has been created under the breeding programme of the National Hop Association. The bitter dwarf hop has been developed over two years and a trial brew made?by Shepherd Neame. It was tasted for?the first time by delegates at the Society of Independent Brewers??conference this week.

?Proxy buying convictions riseJust 28 convictions for buying alcohol for children were secured in 2008 – the latest ?figures released.

There were 574 penalty notices for disorder issued in 2008 – the police’s favoured method for dealing with so-called proxy purchasing. This was lower than the figure for 2007, when 619 PNDs were issued and 18 convictions made.

Energy drink ‘is aphrodisiac’Halewood International is adding an energy drink with “reputed aphrodisiac properties for men” to its soft drinks portfolio. Stimul8 is available to the convenience channel in a 60cl plastic bottle, with an rrp of £2.99.

?Opus One supports MWsPrestigious California wine brand Opus One has signed up as a supporter of the Institute of Masters of Wine. The winery – set up by Château Mouton-Rothschild and a pre-Constellation Robert Mondavi in 1991 – will host the annual MW exam for North America as part of the arrangement.

£1k fine for under-age saleA Scunthorpe off-licence worker has been fined £1,000 after selling alcohol to under-18s. Thileepan Kandappillai was fined £500 each for two separate offences committed while serving at Gee Bee Wines in the town. He was also ordered to pay £80 in costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge after pleading guilty at Scunthorpe Magistrates Court.

Anthony Berry diesFormer Berry Bros & Rudd chairman Anthony Berry has died, aged 94. Berry joined the family company in 1936 and was chairman for 20 years from 1965.

He became master of the Vintners’ Company in 1980.