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Drinks watchdog to advise on gift packs

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Portman Group, the responsible drinking organisation, has decided to issue guidance to retailers after a landmark decision regarding the promotion of gift packs containing alcoholic drinks.

The group's independent complaints panel found that the Bubbly & Bear' gift pack, produced by Blue Sky Beverage Co, exclusively for Asda stores, breached the industry's Code

of Practice, because it appealed to under-18s.

The panel acknowledged that neither company had set out to target under-18s', but considered that although teddy bears appealed to many adults, they also had a particular appeal to under-18s, especially the very young and teenage girls'.

The group's chief executive, Jean Coussins, said: This decision sets a precedent for the gift pack sector, and as a result, The Portman Group's advisory service has written a Help Note to assist producers in complying with the Code.'

She added that Asda had agreed to withdraw the product with immediate effect.