Portman Group launches new guidance for Hard Seltzer and CBD drinks

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

25 Years of Responsible Alcohol Regulation: A new spotlight report by the Portman Group (Credit: Getty/ NataliaAlkema)
25 Years of Responsible Alcohol Regulation: A new spotlight report by the Portman Group (Credit: Getty/ NataliaAlkema)

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Following a 10% increase in requests for advice regarding hard-seltzers and alcoholic drinks containing CBD, the Portman Group has released new guidance in those categories through a new spotlight report, 25 Years of Responsible Alcohol Regulation.

The new guidance, which works alongside the groups existing code in tandem with other regulatory bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom, stated alcohol products must not suggest they have therapeutic qualities, can enhance physical or mental capabilities, or change mood or behaviour.   

Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert said: “These products represent a growing category and are often promoted as a health-conscious choice in other countries, but under UK law and the Portman Group’s Code of Practise, this descriptor can create problems.   

Responsible marketing 

“The guidance aims to help producers navigate the responsible marketing standards in the UK and ensure new products are launched and marketed responsibly.”  

A fundamental requirement of the code requires a product’s alcoholic nature to be communicated with absolute clarity, therefore, with particular relevance to hard seltzers, the new guidelines recommended ABV and references to ‘alcohol’ or the word ‘alcoholic’ be included on the front of the packaging to reduce the risk of consumer confusion.   

With regards to drinks containing CBD, while the Code recognised CBD is not the same as cannabis, the new guidelines stated words and images associated with recreational cannabis needed to be avoided to prevent an association with illicit drugs.  

Encouraging innovation and creativity 

Also noted, was the law on the use of CBD in food and drink products being complex and producers were advised to seek legal advice before launching to market. 

Lambert added: “This is why the Code is, and continues to be, so important, it has helped create an industry that works effectively within the context of a self-regulatory model, while encouraging design, innovation, and creativity.  

“We are extremely proud that this has been done in an effective, responsive, and cost-effective way.” 

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