The Aberdeenshire-based brewer said customers were likely to be aware of its “playful” marketing style, but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the claim was misleading.
The marketing email, dated 20 July 22, also featured the heading ‘FEELING FRUITY’ and listed beers including Lost in Guava, Pineapple Punch and Lost in Lychee and Lime.
An ASA spokesperson said consumers would know some craft beers contained an unusually high amount of fruit, and so many would not be sure whether an alcoholic drink counted as fruit under the Government’s ‘five-a-day’ advice.
They argued BrewDog’s email could suggest its fruit-flavoured beers counted towards the recommended daily portions on fruit and veg. As alcohol does not count towards a person’s ‘five-a-day’, the ASA banned the ad.
BrewDog acknowledged the advertised beers did not count towards a consumer’s ‘five-a-day’. However, it thought recipients would generally understand alcoholic drinks were not equivalent to portions of fruit or vegetables.
The email was only sent to BrewDog customers who had opted in to receive marketing emails. These people, the brewer argued, would be aware of the company’s “playful” marketing style and would recognise the claim as a “tongue-in-cheek’ remark.
A BrewDog spokesperson said: “We respect the ASA’s decision and are happy to confirm that beer is not a fruit or a vegetable. We hope that sorts it out.”
What’s more, the Scottish brewer also argued fruity flavours as well as fruit-inspired product names and ad copy were common across the craft beer industry.
Due to this, it felt may customers would be accustomed to breweries’ tendencies to describe their beer in reference to fruit and understand that comparisons made were not meant to suggest the two were the same thing.
But the regulator said the advert could not appear again in its current form and warned BrewDog not to repeat the claim.
This is not the first time BrewDog has come under fire for its campaigns. Last month the brewer was slammed for a “disingenuous” anti-sponsorship campaign against the World Cup.
World Cup controversy
Despite speaking out against human rights abuse in Qatar, the brewer continued to broadcast the tournament in its bars.
“Isn’t that just supporting them?” one Twitter user asked, and many called for the brewery to not show the games.
Unite Hospitality said while the treatment of workers in Qatar was a scandal, BrewDog had the cheek to comment considering their own workers claimed to have been harassed, assaulted, belittled, insulted or gaslight in the workplace.
This came after a flood of allegations about its “toxic” workplace culture, including claims of inappropriate behaviour from co-founder James Watt.
Watt apologised to former staff and said their complaints would help make him a better chief executive.