Blackout Cider has been forced off the shelves by the drinks industry body the Portman Group, after it ruled that the brand name has strong connotations of alcohol-induced unconsciousness.
The Portman Group found two cider drinks, both produced by The Original Cider Company based in Somerset, Blackout and Mega White Cider in breach of its packaging and promotion code.
The trade body’s independent complaints panel has ruled that the packaging of Mega White Cider is problematic because it displays the description “mega strength” – the Code stipulates that the high alcoholic content of a drink must not be a dominant theme in its marketing.
The complaint was made by the National Association of Cider Makers.
Portman Group chief executive David Poley (pictured) says: “The name Blackout was apparently intended to celebrate the eclipse of the sun, but it can also mean passing out. It’s unacceptable for the industry, even inadvertently, to promote any dangerous effect which can occur through excessive drinking.”
He says a retailer alert bulletin will be issued to get Blackout taken off the shelves.
“The Independent Complaints Panel decided that the term ‘mega strength’ made Mega White’s high alcoholic strength a dominant theme. Retailers will not sell this drink until its packaging has been altered to comply with the panel’s decision,” adds Poley.