Company: Bass Brewers Ltd.
Breach: Not considered by the Panel – see below
Final Decision: 30 September 1997

Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code

Complaint summary

“Hooch is a very well known slang term for illicit alcohol. Chambers English Dictionary details Hooch as ‘crude alcoholic liquor (slang) – alcoholic liquor, especially when made or obtained surreptitiously’.

This product states only that it is an ‘alcoholic drink’. The nature of the alcohol is not determined and this, coupled with the name ‘Hooch’, would suggest confusion as to the alcoholic nature of the product and its strength, clause 3.1(a).

Clause 3.1(b) states that a product should not have as its dominant theme the alcoholic strength. The name ‘Hooch’ would suggest the product is of a high alcoholic strength. The name ‘Hooch’ is the dominant them of the label.

It is my opinion therefore that the naming of this product contravenes paragraphs 3.1(a), (c), (f) as well as paragraph 3.4 of the Code.”


Member of the public from Devon


A previous complaint concerning “Hooch” was considered by The Portman Group in September 1996. It was not heard by the Independent Complaints Panel, which was appointed in January 1997.

The Independent Complaints Panel was of the view that there was no material difference between the complaint and the section of the complaint in 1996 which was not upheld. The previous decision was that the name “Hooch” did not have currency in the 1990’s as a term for illicit drink, would not lead to confusion as to the alcoholic nature of the product and would not of itself be more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults.

Moreover, the Panel was satisfied that the fact that a revised Code of Practice had been introduced since the first complaint was heard was no relevant because there had been no material change to the applicable Code provisions.

Under these circumstances, the Panel concluded that it would not be fair to consider this complaint when it was materially the same as the earlier complaint decided one year before.