The Gin Guild is stamping down on drinks producers who “cynically” and “falsely” label non-compliant products as ‘gin’ to cash in on the spirit’s popularity. 

The Gin Guild, the not-for-profit international gin industry body, has issued a pre legal action notice to the Pentone-family produced Red Storm and Ocean Storm products, both of which are branded as gin despite being only 29% abv, which the Guild said is “in blatant contravention of spirits regulations”. 

Nicholas Cook, director general of The Gin Guild, said: “The producers of these products, fraudulently described as ‘gin’, have attempted a blatant, cynical and foolhardy attempt to market a product by linking to the reputation of the gin category, despite clearly being non-compliant products.”  

The Gin Guild, which represents the distilled gin industry has, due to the number of brands selling non-compliant non-gin products, held discussions with the Office for Product Safety and Standards and extended its role. It now intends to secure enforcement against those seeking to abuse the name and standing of the gin category, and to ensure further provision of consumer advice and protection.  

Cook explained: “These Ocean products are, regrettably, yet another example of products that are not gin, which are not category compliant and which are being mis-marketed and sold to unsuspecting consumers.  

“Our aim is to stop this form of abuse, which of late, due to the success and interest in the gin category, is growing. This is a matter of consumer as well as industry protection.”    

Gin Guild members have been quick to praise the body’s decisive action, with social media comments including “Great to see this kind of nonsense being called out. “#thisisnotgin” and “Big up to @TheGinGuild for taking a stand and trying to protect the category!” 

The Guild has requested that the Ocean and Red Storm brand producers confirm that: Firstly, the continued sale of the products, “described in error as ‘gin’” will cease, with immediate effect. Secondly, it said existing stock branded as gin must not be sold and will be destroyed (or rebottled with a clear and correct description). 

As a third point it said the brand website will, with immediate effect, be removed from the web until all references to these products have been removed. In addition, it stated that all marketing and advertising of the products shall cease with immediate effect.

And as a final point The Guild said the company and the directors should undertake, with immediate effect, that “at no future date will they seek to sell, promote or distribute in any way the products as so described, nor any other products described as ‘gin’ which do not fully meet the required category criteria”.  

If the Gin Guild fails to receive a satisfactory response by the date requested, it intends to take further action, which may include legal redress. 

Cook explained: “The product is clearly being marketed to consumers as Gin and it is highly likely that the average consumer would purchase this product when they may not have done had they been aware that the product was not in fact Gin.

“The Gin Guild, working with the gin industry for the gin industry, will continue to secure enforcement against those seeking to abuse the name and standing of the gin category and to provide consumer advice and protection.”