A recent complaint against Blossom Hill’s first canned spritz product, Blossom Hill Spritz, has been upheld by the Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel.

The complaint against the Blossom Hill Spritz 25cl can was upheld against Code paragraph 3.1: The alcoholic nature of a drink should be communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity.

The Panel noted that while there were some indicators of alcoholic content on the can, such as the ABV, some of the language and imagery used on the product “contributed to a sense of confusion” when determining whether the product was alcoholic.

The Panel noted the dominant images of fruit on the front label and the use of the word ‘Spritz’, which the Panel recognised as common vernacular across both alcoholic and non-alcoholic sparkling drinks and therefore contributed to the unclear alcoholic nature of the product.

The producer of Blossom Hill Spritz, Treasury Wine Estates, has already submitted a revised version of the product label to the Portman Group.

Ben Blake, Head of Marketing at Treasury Wine Estates said: “We are disappointed with the decision of the Independent Complaints Panel, given the strength of the evidence we presented before the judgement. However, as a signatory to the Portman Group’s Code of Practice and a company that is committed to the responsible marketing of alcohol and promotion of our brands, we have accepted Panel’s findings and have agreed to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.”

Separately, a member of the public submitted a complaint to the Portman Group regarding Lost Brewing Co’s Loose Juice. The complainant cited two rules: 3.1: the alcoholic nature of a drink should be communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity and 3.2(h): a drink, its packaging or promotion should not have a particular appeal to under-18s.

The Panel took into account the overall impression conveyed by the can and noted the “generally mature design”, which it did not consider to have particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel then noted that the back of the can, included a number of elements making it clear that the product was alcoholic. This included the ABV, a pregnancy warning logo, Chief Medical Officers drinking guidelines and signposting to Drinkaware.

Commenting on these decisions, Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel Nicola Williams said: “It has been a busy time for the Panel ruling on two very different products but consistently seeing the same rules being cited in complaints. As always, the Panel exercised diligent consideration in making these rulings and would urge producers to keep in mind the stipulations of the Code when designing and marketing products.”