The concerns were raised in relation to the Newport-based brewery’s Hywl, Monstar, TinyFast and Primed products “encouraging irresponsible consumption” through suggestion of “therapeutic qualities” as well as appealing to under 18’s.
Originally launched as part of a January series, a month often “linked to health goals and giving up certain types of food and drink” according to the Portman Group, text on the company’s website said “Cos Jan’s Bad Enough Beers are all made with love and fun to help chase away the January blues”.
The products were found to have breached Code rule 3.2(f), encouraging irresponsible consumption, and Code rule 3.2(j) in varying degrees for suggesting the products had therapeutic qualities, could enhance mental or physical capabilities, and change mood or behaviour.
Monstar, TinyFast and Primed were also upheld under Code rule 3.2(h) for having a particular appeal to under-18s.
Chair of the independent complaints panel Nicola Williams said: “It is socially irresponsible for a producer to mimic well-known non-alcoholic drink brands that are marketed on the grounds of weight loss, meal replacement and performance enhancing properties on alcoholic drinks packaging in such a flagrant manner.
“These cases set new, clear, precedents that all producers should take note of when using well-known non-alcoholic drink brands in alcohol marketing.
“All brands work hard to ensure that certain connotations are linked with their products and alcohol producers must remember that stricter rules apply in this space.”
The products included in the complaint have now been discounted, the Portman Group stated, however concerns regarding the communication of the drink’s alcoholic nature, links to social success or aggressive behaviour were not upheld.
Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert said: “The Independent Complaints Panel do not consider producer intentions when reviewing product packaging, but these cases represent a continuation of concerning behaviour by Tiny Rebel.
“We have had constructive conversations with them and I sincerely hope the producer learns from this and ensures its products are compliant in the future by working with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service”.
Lambert added the decisions were “precedent setting” and drew a “clear line” to let alcohol producers know there can be “serious pitfalls” when mimicking well-known non-alcoholic drinks brands.
A spokesperson for Tiny Rebel said the brand was “proud” to have raised a “significant” amount of money from the sale of each of the beers, which went “directly into the Tiny Rebel Community Fund”.
The Spokesperson continued: “The money raised has already started to be awarded to community projects around the UK.
“As code signatories and an alcohol producer we take our responsibilities very seriously and have now started to use the Portman Group’s advisory service to sense check our marketing campaigns as well as can designs."
The Morning Advertiser understands Tiny Rebel had nothing further to add to its comment.