Vitesse Noir to change packaging after Portman Group rules wording suggests the product has energising capabilities

Hardknott Brewery’s beer brand Vitesse Noir has breached alcohol responsibility rules for making claims about the stimulating effects of the product on its packaging, the Portman Group has said.

A member of the public launched the claim against the packaging, which said “this beer is so packed full of beans it could have you dancing on the ceiling” and “just when you are not sure you can manage the last dance, take a nip and it’ll be just the tonic that you needed”.

The Independents Complaints Panel decided that the packaging implied that the beer could affect physical capabilities and that the whole basis of the marketing for Vitesse Noir was as a stimulant – which went against paragraph 3.2(j) of the Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: “There is a tough self-regulatory Code in the UK which stops alcohol being marketed as a stimulant or from making claims about its physical or mental effects. These rules certainly aren’t here to stop humour or innovation but to show that the alcohol industry can market its products responsibly and producers must exercise careful judgement in this area.”

Licensees and retailers should not to place orders for Vitesse Noir with this labelling after 1 June 2012, and the company has agreed to introduce new packaging.

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