Company: The Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd.
Final Decision: 14 November 2019
Considered under the 2nd Edition of the Code.
“Clause 3.1(h)(iii). The design of this bottle features humming birds and is very brightly coloured while the lettering is of a cartoon nature which is likely to appeal to under 18s. Also, the back panel claims that ‘kava kava‘ (which the drink apparently contains) has sedative and stimulant properties. While the Code does not currently cover such unsubstantiated claims, it is perhaps something worth considering for the future”.
Under Code paragraph 3.1(d)
The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with, acceptance of, or allusion to illicit drugs.
Under Code paragraph 3.1(h)(iii)
The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink should not in any direct or indirect way be more likely to appeal to under 18s than adults through, for example the use of artificially bright colours or style of lettering predominantly associated with under 18s.
The company’s submission
The company says the product is designed with a tropical island theme including humming birds, which are indeed brightly coloured, and ‘Caribbean style‘ lettering. The company also asserts that the product does contain ‘kava kava’ and that the information on the label has come from research. Moreover, it does not believe this aspect of labelling is covered by the Code, particularly since the Panel did not comment at the time of a previous complaint concerning Dr Thirsty‘s Beetlejuice on the fact that the label suggested stimulant properties (“most revitalising“).
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel agreed that the bottle was brightly coloured but did not find that the name, colours, humming bird design or style of lettering were predominantly associated with under 18s, nor that they would be more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults. Thus, the Panel did not uphold the complaint under paragraph 3.1(h)(iii) of the Code. The Panel noted that “Kava Kava” was not an illicit drug and hence that Code Paragraph 3.1(d) did not apply in this instance. The Panel was, however, concerned to note that the product contained unknown quantities of a narcotic drug and that no warnings were given as to the health implications, e.g. for pregnant women. It agreed with the complainant that, next time the Code of Practice is reviewed, consideration should be given to the possibility of including a provision regarding drinks which contain sedatives and/or stimulants.
Action by company
No action required.