Made by a member of the public to the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP), the complaint claimed the gin’s branding suggested consumption of the drinks could change a consumer’s mood and had a therapeutic quality.
The wording on the back label of Engine Organic Gin (42% ABV), which is produced by Engine S.r.l and distributed in the UK by Disaronno, reads “sage and lemon is a traditional remedy to cure a sour mood”, which the panel agreed suggested consumption could ‘cure’ a consumer’s bad mood.
In addition, the panel expressed concern regarding the suggestion of a “cure”, alleging it could directly appeal to those with poor mental health who may be more susceptible to substance misuse.
When considered alongside the wording “fuel the dream” on the front packaging, which is in the style of a 1970’s era motor vehicle engine oil can, the panel concluded these combined elements implied the drink had a therapeutic quality and upheld the complaint under Code rule 3.2(j).
However, the panel did not uphold the complaint under four other code rules including clear communication of a drink’s alcoholic nature on the packaging, appealing to under 18’s, promotion of irresponsible drinking or a contribution towards social success after consumption.
ICP chair Nicola Williams said: “Linking alcohol with improving a consumer’s mood is a clear infringement of the code and alcohol producers should not suggest their drink has therapeutic qualities.
“Producers should carefully consider every aspect of a product’s marketing and packaging to ensure such suggestions are avoided.”
Earlier this week, the panel also upheld a complaint against Cornwall-based brewery Bearded Brewery, which stated the brands Unshaven Maiden cider packaging had an indirect association with sexual activity and could cause widespread offence.
Regarding Bearded Brewery, Williams said: “Producers all have a duty to consider how their products will be perceived.”