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The Portman Group was established in 1989 to ensure that alcohol producers do all they can to promote “the responsible use of alcohol” and social responsibility. Our founders – six major alcohol companies – came with a vision to reduce harm and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to behave in the right way.

The UK continues its journey in its relationship with alcohol and has made major strides over the past 30 years. The moderate majority, almost 4 in 5 UK adults, either choose not to drink or stay within the CMOs’ low risk guidelines. Underage drinking is also on a consistent downward trend and almost all measures of alcohol-related harm are in decline.

Since we were founded, some of our key achievements include:

  • Playing a lead role in the development and delivery of multiple alcohol pledges in the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, leading to the removal of 1.9bn units of alcohol from the market;
  • Leading the industry to be the first to include unit labelling and responsible drinking messaging on packaging, helping consumers to make an informed choice;
  • Forcing more than 160 inappropriate products to be re-branded or removed from the market, driving positive change in the industry and helping to protect consumers.

In 2019 we celebrated our 30th anniversary. To reflect on our work carried out over the years we produced the ’30 years of Responsibility’ Report charting our successes as the social responsibility body and regulator for alcohol producers in the UK. Click below to read more:

30 Years of Responsibility

CONSUMER EDUCATION

The Portman Group has pioneered a variety of consumer-focused educational campaigns to warn of the dangers of alcohol misuse and promote responsible drinking. This work led to the establishment of drinkaware.co.uk which later evolved into the independent charity Drinkaware Trust.

The two organisations formally split in 2007, with the Portman Group focusing on delivering effective industry self-regulation and Drinkaware charged with consumer-facing campaigns and

REGULATION

As an effective regulator since 1996, the Portman Group has introduced six editions of the regulatory Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks as well as launching a separate Sponsorship Code with the intention of driving up standards across the industry. The Independent Complaints Panel, which rules on the Codes, has upheld complaints against more than 160 products, resulting in changes to their design and packaging. Our free advisory service has responded to more than 10,000 requests for advice and support.

1989

The Portman Group is established.

1993

The Portman Group supports an advertising campaign across eight major cities using the slogans ‘Avoid the Mourning After’ and ‘Take the Soft Option’.

1996

The first edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Merchandising of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

2000

The second edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Merchandising of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

2002

The third edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

2003

Portman Group member companies sign up to the ‘Commitments to Action’ agreement.

2004

The Portman Group establishes the ‘Drinkaware’ website to provide consumer advice on responsible drinking.

2006

The fourth edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

2007

The Drinkaware Trust becomes an independent charity dedicated to consumer advice on responsible drinking.

2011

The Portman Group signs up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal.

2013

The fifth edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

2014

The First Edition of the Code of Practice on Alcohol Sponsorship is published.

2015

The industry’s Responsibility Deal Network, chaired by the Portman Group’s Chief Executive, exceeded its pledge target to remove 1 billion units of alcohol from the market.

2019

The sixth edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks is launched.

Further Reading