The Portman Group operates the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks and the Code of Practice on Alcohol Sponsorship.

Naming, Packaging and Promotion Code of Practice

Sponsorship Code of Practice

The Codes ensure that alcohol is marketed in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable.

The Codes apply to all alcohol marketing, including naming, packaging, sponsorship, point-of-sale and brand merchandising which is primarily UK targeted and not already subject to regulation by the ASA or Ofcom.

The Code of Practice for Alcohol Sponsorship was launched in 2014 and the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks, now in its sixth edition, was updated in 2019. This was an important revision and saw significant changes to the rules. It was updated in response to changes in society and reviewed as to whether the rules were still working as intended. The update introduced a new principle to protect the vulnerable and a rule on serious or widespread offence. Other rule changes included the requirement that marketing cannot suggest any association with illegal behaviour and that marketing cannot imply that alcohol can change mood or behaviour. The publication of the new Code was supported with updated guidance, including new guidance on immoderate consumption.

In compiling the sixth edition of the Code, the Portman Group consulted extensively with the public health community, Government, and members of the sector. Read the consultation document and 31 responses here.

Auditing the MARKET

After giving the industry time to implement the new rules we commissioned Zenith Global, an independent auditor, to gauge compliance across the sector.

The audit showed that 95% of products were adhering to the new edition of the Code.

However, there were 29 products that were flagged as potentially problematic, of which six related to food labelling law and were referred to Trading Standards. Of the others we contacted the producers and gave them the option of working with us to resolve the potential issue or they could choose for the case to be heard by the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP). 14 were then altered or withdrawn before the new Code came into force and nine products went forward to the ICP for formal investigation. The ICP found six of the products in breach of the Code, and the Advisory Service offered support to help the producers amend the products to comply with the Code.

Audit Report

Press Release


Further Reading