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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 00:09 GMT
Brewery rapped over 'vitamin' beer
Gales Advert
The claims were printed on beer mats
An independent brewer has been rapped by the advertising watchdog after claiming its beer included vitamins and nutrients.

George Gale & Co, which is based in Hampshire, printed the claims on promotional beer mats.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered the 155-year-old company to withdraw the ad.

Officials said there was no evidence to back up the company's claims. The beer mats were being used to promote Gales Best beer.

Claims

One side of the mat was headlined "Food for thought". Beneath the headline ran a quotation from Brewing Research International.

It stated: "Beer is an all round food containing a balanced package of nutrients and minerals and can be considered to make a positive contribution to a healthy diet."

We are too small a company to get involve in a legal dispute over this
Spokesman George Gale & Co
On the reverse of the mat, it stated "Vitamin Beer... I'll drink to that" beneath four beer brand labels.

A member of the public complained to the ASA saying the advert was misleading and irresponsible.

The company submitted a review paper, which discussed the nutritional content of beer, to the ASA. It also stated that as a traditional brewer it only used natural ingredients.

However, the watchdog demanded the brewery withdraw the advert because it had not proved its beer had any of the nutritional benefits claimed on its beer mats.

It added there was evidence to suggest that beer can also prevent the body from absorbing some vitamins.

Minerals

In a statement, the ASA said: "The authority noted that alcohol inhibited the uptake of several vitamins and minerals, because they had not proven that beer had the nutritional benefits claimed in the advertisement, the Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading."

A spokesman for George Gale & Co criticised the decision and suggested it had more to do with the design of the advert than the claims being made.

Speaking to BBC News Online, he added: "We are too small a company to get involved in a legal dispute over this."




SEE ALSO:
Free beer for human guinea pigs
04 Jul 02 |  Health
Vitamins in beer plan considered
17 Feb 02 |  Scotland
Beer 'may be good for you'
27 Apr 00 |  Health


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