Sales blackout for ciders

25 July, 2008

Two 7.5% abv ciders – Mega White and Blackout – are to be taken off retailers' shelves after they were found in breach of the Portman Group's code.

Two strong ciders have been removed from sale after the Portman Group found they breached its code on responsible drinks marketing.

The Original Cider Company’s Blackout Cider and Mega White Cider, from the Somerset-based Original Cider Company, are to be renamed following the decision by the Portman Group’s independent complaints panel.

Portman Group chief executive David Poley said: “The name Blackout was apparently intended to celebrate the eclipse of the sun, but it can also mean passing out. It’s unacceptable for the industry, even inadvertently, to promote any dangerous effect which can occur through excessive drinking. A Retailer Alert Bulletin will now be issued to get Blackout taken off shelves.

“The independent complaints panel decided that the term ‘mega strength’ made Mega White’s high alcoholic strength a dominant theme. Retailers will not sell this drink until its packaging has been altered to comply with the panel’s decision.”

The complaints were brought by the National Association of Cider Makers, which also raised concerns about Moonshine White Cider, a 7.5% abv cider from the same company – but the panel said that even though the brand name referred to illegally produced alcohol, it did not put too much stress on the drink’s strength.

NACM spokesman Simon Russell said: “We feel it is our responsibility to protect the perception of cider and the cider industry and the wider drinks industry, and not just be here to protect the interests of what is a finite group of NACM members.”

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