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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
'Energising' drink label banned

The industry is barred from promoting alcohol to children
Drink manufacturers will no longer be allowed to use terms such as "energising" to describe their products.

The Portman Group, which regulates the brewing industry, is to include a new rule in its code of practice which states that products must not suggest that they can enhance mental or physical capability.

The watchdog is particularly concerned that terms such as "energising" and "stimulating" should not be used to describe drinks that contain alcohol - especially alcopops.

Brands currently using the terms include:

  • the vodka-based drinks Red Square, which claim to be "energising"
  • Interbrew UK's Wild Brew which claims to have stimulating qualities
  • VR, marketed as a "vodka revitaliser"
Manufacturers who do not comply with the new ruling could have complaints against them upheld by the Portman Group - which could then advise retailers who are also members not to stock the products.

A spokesman for the Portman Group told BBC News Online that alcohol was a known depressant, and therefore could not be described as "energising".

Portman Group director Jean Coussins said: "This brings our code fully into line with the provisions on alcohol in the codes that deal with broadcast and non-broadcast advertising.

"It will, of course, be up to the independent complaints panel to interpret this new clause. The intention, however, is to stop alcoholic drinks being described as energising or stimulating."

A spokeswoman for Halewood International, which produces Red Square, said it was repackaging the drink, describing it as "reloaded" rather than "energising".

And Interbrew said it had already changed Wild Brew's labelling as part of a rebranding exercise.

Torquay-based Beverage Brands, which makes VR, said it was also planning changes to their brand to comply with the Portman Group regulations.

There has been widespread concern that the labelling and marketing of alcopops has attracted underage drinkers.

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27 Jun 98 | Health
Alcopops 'can rot teeth'
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