Direct Beers in breach of alcohol marketing rules

16/07/2014

Ten products produced by independent brewer Direct Beers Ltd have been found to breach the Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.  

The Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) ruled that Cat P*ss, Dog P*ss, Bullsh*t, Dandelion & Birdsh*t, Big C**k, A**e Liquor, Puke, Sh*tfaced, Yellow Snow and Kn*bhead, all beers, breached the provisions of the Code.  

All of the products were found to contravene Paragraph 3.2(h) of the Code, which states that drinks, packaging or promotional material should not have particular appeal to under-18s.

In addition, Puke, Shi*tfaced and Kn*bhead were deemed to encourage illegal, irresponsible, or immoderate consumption (contrary to Paragraph 3.2f). Big C**k and Kn*bhead were found in breach for suggesting an association with sexual activity (contrary to Paragraph 3.2d); whilst Sh*tfaced and Yellow Snow were found in breach for suggesting an association with bravado, violence, aggression, or anti-social behaviour (contrary to Paragraph 3.2b).

Complaints to the Panel regarding Direct Beers’ Grumpy Git and Lazy Sod products, however, were not upheld.

All of the complaints about Direct Beers were submitted by the Public Health Team at Newcastle City Council.

Direct Beers asserted that none of its products were intended to appeal to under-18s, and explained that the vast majority of its drinks were sold in person at retail events, where it operated a Challenge 25 policy.  

The Panel was concerned, however, that frequent references to scatological humour, defecation, urination, genitalia, vomiting and other bodily functions could prove particularly attractive to under-18s. It also noted that this appeal was exacerbated by the cartoon illustrations shown on a number of the products.  

Henry Ashworth, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, said:

“‘It is vitally important that alcohol producers ensure that their drinks do not in any way appeal to children, encourage violence, anti-social behaviour or immoderate drinking, or make references to sexual activity. There is a place for humour in alcohol marketing, as the Panel’s decisions on Grumpy Git and Lazy Sod show – but it is important to know where to draw the line.”

For details of the Panel ruling see the full decision notice here

Direct Beers has not yet confirmed whether it will make any amendments to its products.

ENDS 

For more information please contact

Press Office

02072 901 463/460 | shanratty@portmangroup.org.uk