BrewDog in another spat as Portman Group bans 18.2% beer
LONDON - The Portman Group, the alcohol watchdog funded by the drinks industry, has stepped in to ban a beer containing 18.2% alcohol from being sold in pubs and clubs.
Tokyo*, which is made by Scottish brewer BrewDog, features the slogan: "You must, from time to time, have excess. This beer is for those times." The brewer has had a number of run ins with the Portman Group, claiming that the industry-funded regulator hinders the growth of smaller alcohol brands.
While the beer made headlines for its high alcohol content, it was its tagline that ran into trouble with The Portman Group's marketing rules. The group's chief executive David Pooley said: "We don't regulate the alcohol content of drinks but we do control how they are promoted.
"It's obviously unwise for any company to urge consumers to drink to excess. We won't allow any irresponsible marketing whether it's for a big brand or a niche product. That's why we're taking action to restrict future sales of this beer."
In response, BrewDog co-founder Martin Dickie said to the BBC: "The Portman Group's decision to ban Tokyo* highlights the misdirection of their organisation.
"Like all of our specialist beers it was only available online at our website and in five specialist beer retailers throughout the UK. They should perhaps concentrate their efforts on targeting the brands selling 24 cans of lager for £7 - where literal excess is contributing to Scotland's problem with alcohol."
Tokyo* is not the strongest lager BrewDog produces. Last month it launched 'Tactical Nuclear Penguin', which has a 32% alcohol level and claims to be Britain's strongest lager.
The Portman Group and BrewDog have clashed previously. In January the drinks body stepped in over issues with the name of the brewer's Speedball beer. In drugs parlance a speedball is a mixture of heroin and cocaine, made famous as the drug which killed 'Blues Brothers' star John Belushi.
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