Drinks companies rapped for marketing of alcopops

Bass, Whitbread and Allied Domecq have all come under fire from the drinks industry’s watchdog for irresponsibly marketing alcopops.

The latest report from the Portman Group is sure to embarrass a number of blue-chip brewers, which set up the association in 1989 and jointly fund it.

The report includes decisions on complaints about 17 products, 13 of which have had complaints upheld against them.

It comes just before the introduction of a revised code, strengthened in scope and enforcement powers, on September 1.

Allied Domecq and Sainsbury’s are criticised for using packaging that would appeal to children on products called Barking Frog and Alcoholic Lemon Drink respectively. Both companies say they had withdrawn the drinks, before the Portman Group’s adjudication, as a business decision.

An Allied Domecq spokesman says: “Barking Frog was introduced before any code in these areas. But we are very supportive of the Portman Group and this report shows the code works.”

Bass’s alcoholic fruit drink Red is slammed because the alcoholic nature of the drink is “not made clear on the front label”, as required by the Portman Group’s code. Bass has agreed to redesign the label.

Meanwhile, Whitbread is criticised for using the words “24 hour discotonic” to promote its drink Wild Brew.

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