Brewer in dog house for glamorising drugs

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Portman group, Beer

A brewer has hit back at the Portman Group after the watchdog ruled one of its drinks be removed from shelves for glamorising drugs. The Independent...

A brewer has hit back at the Portman Group after the watchdog ruled one of its drinks be removed from shelves for glamorising drugs.

The Independent Complaints Commission upheld a complaint about Brew BrewDog seasonal ale Speedball - which shares a name with the cocktail of crack cocaine and heroin that killed Hollywood stars John Belushi and River Phoenix.

It is marketed as a "class A ale" containing "a vicious cocktail of active ingredients" which creates a "happy-sad" effect.

BrewDog director and head brewer Martin Dickie said the drink - which has only been sold in small quantities in the UK - was named in response to the Portman Group previously targeting its best-selling brews Riptide, Punk IPA and Hop Rocker.

He said: "In the last eight months they were trying to block the sale of our three top selling beers so this time we thought we would give them something worth banning us for and we accept the name is slightly provocative.

"The long term view was that we were going to change the name to Dogma anyway."

However he denied the 7.1 per cent ABV beer promoted drugs.

David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, described the promotion of the drink as "grossly irresponsible".

He said: "The company is seriously misguided in its claim to be educating and preventing people from misusing drugs. We are taking urgent action to protect the public from exposure to such negligent marketing."

The complaint was made by Alcohol Focus Scotland.

In December the panel ruled Riptide, Punk IPA and Hop Rocker, that which are all made at the microbrewery in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, would not have to have packaging changed despite complaints.

Related topics: Beer

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