Portsmouth City Council has failed in a bid to outlaw Oranjeboom lager and K cider on grounds they promote irresponsible drinking.
The council complained to industry body the Portman Group that the drinks encourage consumers to drink them rapidly or “down in one”.
If the Portman Group agreed with the claims, they would have sent out a retailer bulletin advising all stores, large and small, to stop selling the products.
The Portman Group considered the claims but decided there was nothing on the packaging “that would encourage a consumer to drink rapidly or to down a product in one” so it did not uphold either complaint.
Portsmouth City Council argued that the combination of the strength of the product plus the fact the product is served in a 50cl can that is not re-sealable encourages consumers to drink immoderately, because “once opened [the product] must be consumed or rapidly lose quality of taste etc. This encourages people to drink the entire can in one serving.”
But the Portman Group concluded that since the Chief Medical Officer has not stated how much somebody should drink in a day, there is nothing to suggest 4.2 alcoholic units, the contents of a can of K Cider and of a can of Oranjeboom, is immoderate.
Portsmouth City Council has long been trying to banish beers and ciders over a certain abv and has been one of the most vociferous proponents of Reducing the Strength schemes.
But some retailers in the city have refused to join the scheme, which is technically voluntary (although there have been claims of retailers feeling coerced into joining), so it appears the council is trying different tactics.
Medway Council in Kent launched a similar complaint about Crest lager. This product has five units per can, but since the new CMO guidelines refer to how much consumers should drink in a week rather than on a day by day basis, it said there was no evidence to suggest five units on a single day classes as immoderate drinking.