Carlsberg plans new Sevens beer

CARLSBERG is considering producing a light beer for the Rugby Sevens and will examine the safety of sending its drink waiters into the top tier of the partly-renovated Hongkong Stadium.

The brewery's public relations manager, Mr Derek Currie, last night said that although there had been no formal discussions with the Rugby Football Union, a member had asked if Carlsberg could provide an alternative for the March 27-28 event.

Most beers sold in Hongkong are four per cent proof; a light would be about three per cent proof.

''They probably want us to provide a light beer alongside the normal beer to give spectators a choice,'' he said.

''I think the reasoning behind asking for an alternative is that people are in early and want something other than just beer.'' Mr Currie said he would talk to the brewery about a special Sevens light but Carlsberg might simply sell its Jolly Shandy, which is less than one per cent proof and considered to be a soft drink.

It was not sold at the Sevens last year.

The police are believed to be encouraging the Sevens organising committee to examine the sale of alcohol at the tournament, now characterised by the consumption of a huge quantity of beer.

Provision of the lighter variety would ensure that the weekend was licensed by the Liquor Licensing Board.

The tragedy in Lan Kwai Fong at New Year, which resulted in the death of 21 people, has heightened sensitivity about the sale of alcohol and safety when large numbers of people gather.

Mr Currie said he would visit the stadium on Tuesday and look into whether beer would be sold in the top section, which will remain uncovered until the stadium reconstruction is completed next year.

''Because it is a partly-built stadium, safety in the top tier stands will have to be looked at,'' he said.

He stressed that his concern was the safety of his staff delivering drinks to spectators.

This year, the stadium will be able to seat a record 33,000 people.

The chief executive officer of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Mr David Roberts, said it was the union's policy to provide both sorts of beer, and the light variety had been sold at previous tournaments.

He stressed the union was conscious of safety.

Despite the rain during last year's Sevens, about 120,000 pints of beer were sold over the weekend.