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BrewDog to sue The Portman Group for defamation

The Drum's Future 50 champions the best new marketers in the world

The seemingly never ending row between microbrewery BrewDog and industry regulator The Portman Group rumbles on as the Aberdeen based brewer announces that it is to sue for defamation.

The company has hired law firm Pitmans to take up the action following the comments made by David Pooley, chief executive of The Portman Group about its product Speedball in a press statement where he said: “BrewDog is profiteering from the scourge of illegal drugs, mocking the misery caused by the issue.”

Pitmans have now taken up the case on behalf of BrewDog, claiming the comment is defamatory and damaging.

The company is seeking a public apology, a removal of the comments, legal costs and a donation made to an alcohol abuse charity of BrewDog’s choice.

Pitmans’ dispute resolution consultant Oliver Smith said: “The allegations that our clients profit from illegal drugs and mock the misery caused by the misuse (or use) of illegal drugs are untrue and factually inaccurate.

“Our clients sell legal beers and take the issue of illegal drug use seriously. Mr Pooley appears to seek to justify his statement on the basis that ‘The blurring of alcohol and illicit drugs fosters unhealthy attitudes to drinking and trivialises drug misuses’.

“This is not a justification for, or legal defence to, these serious allegations against our client - which have and will continue to cause them distress and damage their personal and business reputations.”

David Poley, Portman Group chief exectuive, said: "Brewdog are trying to gag us from criticising this grossly irresponsible product. Most people will be appalled at their crass attempt to market a drink using the theme of illegal drugs. Instead of wasting time on futile legal action, they should concentrate on promoting those drinks we've not banned."

The company is also about to undertake a major expansion with casks and kegs now available, alongside bottles, for the UK on-trade industry.

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