Victory for craft brewery
with industry's watch dog
BrewDog, a Scottish micro brewery, is celebrating victory after a long, eight-month battle with the drinks industry watch dog, the Portman Group. The drinks regulator had threatened to force the brewery to withdraw three of its beers following complaints about the wording on bottle labels.
But the Portman Group's independent complaints panel said it had considered the complaints and had not found any breach of the group's code of practice. BrewDog managing director James Watt was delighted by the ruling but criticised the Portman Group's policies.
He said: "It's incredible to think that ,with all the issues there are with alcohol in society, the Portman Group spent eight months chasing us over words on a bottle label. Surely the group must be taking a long, hard look at itself and wondering what its reason for existing is?
"We refused to be rolled over and bullied into changing our packaging by what is basically a cartel funded by our larger competitors. We were determined and stood our ground to keep our dream and our business alive."
On BrewDog's flagship brand, Punk IPA, the complaint stated that the product is described on the label as an aggressive beer", thus associating its consumption with anti-social behaviour.
"The panel decided that the phrase 'this is an aggressive beer' on the label described a flavour characteristic of the product," James Watt said.
The description of the brewery's Hop Rocker beer, which included the phrase "nourishing food stuff" and "magic is still there to be extracted from this drink", raised concerns relating to the implication the beer could enhance mental or physical capabilities. The Portman Group decided this was unlikely to be taken literally.
Finally, on the brewery's Riptide brand, the complaint had been that "the product is described as a 'twisted merciless stout', potentially associating its consumption with anti-social behaviour".
The panel also threw this out, stating: "The company claimed the name and label text were based on a pirate and nautical theme and that the description was in keeping with this theme."