Wine supplier Brand Phoenix has urged retailers of all sizes to support the government’s Responsibility Deal by encouraging responsible drinking, or face the consequences in the form of more regulation in the alcohol industry.

Director Steve Barton said: “We in the alcohol industry face a serious challenge, and if brand owners and retailers don’t work together to trade responsibly, the government will have no choice but to hammer us through legislation. We support the Responsibility Deal, and if retailers support what we are trying to do, we will ensure that consumers get the choice.”

The company, which markets the First Cape brand, has pledged to remove 50 million units of alcohol from the wine category in each of the next three years, by reducing the strength of its standard products by an average of 0.8%, and by giving increased focus and profile to its range of 5.5% abv light wines, which it says are still not offered by enough retailers.

At the same time, First Cape announced its sponsorship of the 2013 British & Irish Lions rugby tour of Australia, and Lions officials Andy Irvine and Sir Ian McGeechan endorsed the wine brand’s responsible drinking message.