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Wedding turns into big business

world Updated: Apr 23, 2011 01:32 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

From special edition sweets to Indian tourists and even a Viagra-laced beer that guarantees conjugal night bliss, the eagerly-awaited wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton next week appears to be spawning a mini industry in recession-strapped Britain.

In the village of Bucklebury, where Kate's family home is situated, entrepreneurs and the parish council have taken the lead in coming up with special products that they hope will give their struggling businesses a boost.

On sale at the Peaches convenience store in Upper Bucklebury are special editions of the popular gummy sweet Haribo. They have been named "Hearts & Rings And Other Nice Things". Kate is particularly fond of sweets, say Hashmukh and Chandrika Shingadia, the Indian-origin couple who run the shop and who have been invited by Kate to attend the Apr 29 royal wedding.

Elsewhere in the small village, 90 km from London, the West Berkshire Brewery have come up with a Royal Wedding Ale. "The brewery was established 15 years ago and has become part of the community, so we recognise the importance and relevance of what is a national event, but through the yes of the locals," said David Maggs, owner of the brewery.

The village has also commissioned pottery and royal memento makers Emma Bridgewater to produce a commemorative mug, which could become a sought-after item.

Local butcher Martin Fidler, who too has been invited to the wedding, said sales have dipped in recent years. "These days people tend to go for mince or sausages rather than steaks. Meat's the most expensive item on the plate." The royal wedding, he hoped, will cheer people up, adding: "There's so much doom and gloom everywhere."

Meanwhile, the British capital is gearing up for an influx of tourists for the royal wedding, particularly from India and other BRIC countries. A survey by the government's tourism wing, VisitBritain, shows that people from Brazil (79%), Russia (83%), India and China (both 71%) are among the keenest to visit places associated with the monarchy.

Research shows that the monarchy generates business worth half a billion pounds from overseas tourism every year and the royal wedding is expected to outstrip that figure.

Meanwhile, Brewdog, a brewery that makes 'cool, contemporary and progressive beers' has announced the launch of a Viagra-laced beer called the Royal Virility Performance. Only 40 bottles will be offered for sale on the brewers website on Apr 29, said the brewers, adding they want to "give the happy couple something extra on their big day."