But it is being waged nevertheless.
Quietly and tentatively across Scotland councillors are saying 'no' to convenience stores, including those owned by major supermarket chains, asking for booze licences.
Glasgow's licensing board earlier this year refused to let a Tesco outlet in Govanhill have an off-licence.
Their theory? That many parts of the city – including Govanhill – simply have too many alcohol shops.
Today Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, gave his support to boards who try to keep a lid on the number of licensed premises in Scotland.
First, the Scottish Government moved to raise the price of booze. Increasingly they – supported by doctors – want to reduce its availability.
Ahead of a major speech on alcohol policy in Glasgow, Mr MacAskill said: "For generations, Scottish pubs, hotels and restaurants have been an important part of Scottish life and make a valuable contribution to our culture and economy.
"These venues will always have a place in our communities.
"The Scottish Government strongly values the licensed trade in Scotland, and supports responsible drinking.
"However, we recognise the need for our damaging relationship with alcohol to be rebalanced. Individuals and communities are still affected by alcohol abuse. We have acted on price, but other issues remain."
The trouble is that Scotland's licensing boards, including Glasgow's, traditionally decide whether to grant new licences on the individual merits of each application.
That meant they didn't look at the overall number of licences in an area and decide whether they should be more. Until now. West Dunbartonshire nearly two years ago declared it didn't need any more pubs or licensed restaurants – or supermarkets selling cut-price beer. So it declared it had "overprovision".
Glasgow's licensing board has taken the same view of parts of the system. Mr MacAskill backs them.
Today he said: "While it is a matter for individual licensing boards to issue licences based on applications made to them, the Scottish Government welcomes boards making use of new powers, such as the overprovision policy.
"We will continue to work closely with licensing boards and support them in their work to make sure they are able to act in the best interests of Scottish communities."
Mr MacAskill will today speak at the annual conference of campaign group Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS).
Yesterday we revealed that AFS had calculated that Glasgow's economy suffers more, per citizen, from the crime and health problems linked with alcohol abuse than any other in Scotland.
It calculated the cost at £1million a day, a total of just under £365m out of a national figure of £2billion.
This included a bill for the damage done by alcohol-related crime of £152m a year.
Out of Scotland's big cities only Aberdeen had a figure anywhere close to Glasgow's.
And suburban authorities like East Renfrewshire, which has fewer licensed premises than any council area in Scotland, had far lower damage figures.
AFS – and its fellow campaigners at Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems – used to figures to call for restrictions on availability.
Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "Scotland is unique in having a licensing system that requires licensing boards to consider the protection and improvement of public health when taking decisions about licensing.
"But we need to make sure that this principle is put into practice.
"With the majority of alcohol sold in Scotland bought from supermarkets, and most people drinking at home, we need to shift the focus of licensing away from individual on-sales premises to managing the overall availability of alcohol."
Scotland's alcohol consumption is falling – mostly thanks to the recession, say industry experts – but it remains way above international averages.
Mr MacAskill will today outline some of the consequences of the sheer levels of booze abuse in the country.
His Government in 2010 estimated the overall cost of alcohol abuse to the Scottish economy far higher than AFS, at around £3.6bn.
But Mr MacAskill will also stress the sheer human cost. Until relatively recently, he will say, Scotland had one of the lowest levels of liver disease in western Europe. Now chronic liver disease accounts for one in 50 deaths.
A study last year found that three-quarters of those doing time in young offenders institutions had been drunk when they committed the crime that got them locked up.
Retailers meanwhile, dispute that any individual store could ever be held responsible for such figures.
Tesco, for one, is appealing against the licensing board's decision not to let it sell booze in Govanhill. The fight on convenience store alcohol licences goes on.