A recent complaint about Beavertown Brewery’s product, Neck Oil, was not upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel). A copy of the full decision can be read here.

The complainant, a member of the public, expressed concern that the product uses bright colours and that the name ‘Neck Oil’ implies that the product is to be consumed “in one” i.e. necked. Furthermore, the complainant said that the colours used on the packaging “are clearly aimed at the younger market and encourage irresponsible consumption”.

The Panel firstly considered whether the product has a particular appeal to under 18s. The Panel discussed the colour palette and illustrations on the can design and noted that muted, instead of contrasting, colours had been used and that the artwork was sophisticated, and adult in nature.  The Panel concluded that there was no element of the can that could have a particular appeal to under 18s and accordingly did not uphold the product under Code Rule 3.2(h).

The Panel considered the company’s submission and acknowledged that the phrase ‘neck oil’ was widely recognised as colloquial term for beer both within and outside the industry. The Panel noted that neck was used as a noun and did not consider that its use in this way suggested a “down in one” style of consumption.  The Panel concluded that there were no visual or text cues to encourage irresponsible or “down in one” consumption and accordingly did not uphold the product under Code Rules 3.2(g) or 3.2(f).


For more information please contact:

Melanie Woodnick
Interim Director of External Affairs
0207 290 1463 or 07719 324021 or

Notes to editors:

  1. The full rulings from the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) can be read here. All complaint decisions made by the Panel are available on our website.
  2. The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks applies to all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks and the promotional activities of all drinks producers. A copy of the Code may be downloaded here.
  3. This complaint was considered under the fifth edition of the Code of Practice. The sixth edition of the Code was published on 4th March and will come into full effect on 23rd September 2019. Complaints received after 23rd September will be subject to the rules in the sixth edition.
  4. The Panel, which hears complaints, is chaired by Jenny Watson CBE. The other members of the Panel are: David Macdonald, Angela McNab, Rosalie Weetman, Jon Collins, Graeme Mckenzie, Claire Fowler, Daniel Jourdan and Rachel Childs. More information on the Panel can be found here.
  5. Since the Code was introduced in 1996, the packaging and/or marketing of over 140 drinks have been found to breach the Code. In the case of a Code breach concerning a drink’s packaging or point-of-sale material, a timetable for implementing the necessary changes – not normally exceeding three months – will be supplied in writing to the company concerned. Retailers may be notified of the decision taken by the Independent Complaints Panel and requested not to replenish stocks or point-of-sale material of any product found in breach of the Code, after the date specified by the Code Secretariat.
  6. The Portman Group provides a free and confidential Advisory Service for alcohol producers to check products prior to launch and seek advice on responsible alcohol marketing. Over 2000 separate advice requests have been answered since 2010.  Email: advice@localhost.
  7. The Portman Group is the alcohol industry regulator.  It is funded by its eight member companies: AB InBev UK; Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Mast-Jägermeister UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK.
  8. Images of Neck Oil are available on request.