British Legion launches Poppy Day whisky

by PETER BIRKETT, Mail on Sunday

The Royal British Legion has turned to the strong stuff to fire up this year's annual Poppy appeal.

For the first time in its 80-year history, the ex-servicemen's charity is marketing its own label beer and Scotch whisky to boost chances of raising the target £20.1 million for its funds.

In an exclusive deal with supermarket giant Safeway, the Legion's specially brewed Poppy Pride ale and Royal British Legion Scotch Whisky, both bearing the familiar red poppy logo, will go on sale in selected stores throughout the country this week.

The Legion's fundraisers are hoping the war in Afghanistan may influence the public to choose the Legion's brands in the fortnight before Remembrance Day on November 11.

'The Legion is helping ex-service people and their families affected by any conflict, including those who have recently been deployed in the war on terror,' said a Legion spokesman.

'We urge everyone to make their contribution to support those who put themselves at risk to ensure that the rest of us can live peacefully.'

Poppy Pride, which is brewed by East Anglian brewers Tollemache and Cobbold and will sell at £1.49 a 500ml bottle, has been on trial in British Legion clubs, but has only been available on draught until now. The whisky, blended by a top distiller and costing £9.99 a 70cl bottle, also proved a hit in club trials.

It is the first time Safeway, with its 480 stores nationwide, has been involved in selling British Legion products and there are plans for special promotions of the beer and whisky in the stores selected to stock it.

'We are strong supporters of the Legion's work and we welcome this opportunity to promote the cause through these limited edition drinks,' a Safeway spokesman said.

'We hope that our customers take a moment to appreciate the importance of the ex-servicemen's charity - and perhaps raise a toast to them.'