A complaint against Asahi’s Super Dry beer has not been upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaint Panel (ICP). The full decision can be read here.

The complaint, received from a member of the public, raised concerns that the alcoholic nature of the drink was not communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity under Code rule 3.1, in particular that a “zero-like” figure on the front of the packaging may cause consumers to mistake the beer for an alcohol-free product.

The Panel considered whether the figure on the front label could cause consumer confusion as to the drink’s alcoholic nature as raised by the complainant, but the Panel noted that the character was a square, presented as a Kanji character in a wider Japanese context, rather than a circle and therefore considered that the majority of consumers would be unlikely to mistake it as a reference to a drink containing zero alcohol.

The Panel also assessed the front and back label of the drink and noted that there were several instances of positive alcohol cues on the front label. This included references to ‘beer’ and ‘brewing’ several times. The Panel considered the back label and observed further positive alcohol cues such as the word ‘beer’, a responsible drinking message, unit content information and the drink’s alcoholic strength by volume (ABV). After assessing the packaging in its entirety, the Panel considered the product sufficiently communicated its alcoholic nature with absolute clarity and accordingly, did not uphold the complaint.

Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel Rachel Childs said: “While the Panel expressed a degree of sympathy regarding the potential for confusion between alcoholic and non-alcoholic products which share the same branding, in this case they concluded that the product communicated its alcoholic nature with absolute clarity due to a number of positive alcohol cues and as a result did not uphold the complaint.”