Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

BrewDog Beer of 18.2% faces ban over label message

bottles of beer
The marketing of Tokyo has caused controversy

An 18.2% beer made by a controversial Scottish brewery should not be be sold by bars, clubs and shops across the UK, a watchdog has ruled.

The Portman Group said there had been complaints that a message on Fraserburgh-based BrewDog's Tokyo* labels encouraged excessive drinking.

It is issuing a retailer alert and wants the marketing altered before Tokyo* - at £10 a bottle - can be sold.

BrewDog said Portman Group efforts should focus on targeting cheap brands.

The message on the label says people must, from time to time, have excess, and adds: "This beer is for those times."

Portman Group Chief Executive David Poley said: "We don't regulate the alcohol content of drinks but we do control how they are promoted. It's obviously unwise for any company to urge consumers to drink to excess.

"We won't allow any irresponsible marketing whether it's for a big brand or a niche product. That's why we're taking action to restrict future sales of this beer."

'Scotland's problem'

However, BrewDog's co-founder Martin Dickie said: "The Portman Group's decision to ban Tokyo* highlights the misdirection of their organisation.

"Like all of our specialist beers it was only available online at our website and in five specialist beer retailers throughout the UK.

"They should perhaps concentrate their efforts on targeting the brands selling 24 cans of lager for £7 - where literal excess is contributing to Scotland's problem with alcohol."

The Portman Group said minimum pricing would benefit some companies because it would eliminate cheap competition but that did not necessarily mean it was an effective tactic to tackle problem drinking.

BrewDog was previously branded irresponsible for Tokyo* by Alcohol Focus Scotland, which complained to The Portman Group. BrewDog themselves also complained, in what was said to be a bid to highlight the best ways to educate people about alcohol.

The brewery had then followed up Tokyo* with a low alcohol beer called Nanny State.

BrewDog then made headlines last week after it launched an even stronger beer at 32% called Tactical Nuclear Penguin.

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