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Industry asked: how much drink is too much?

Published:  27 April, 2018

How much is too much? Are new rules needed to stop drinks brands implying their products can improve mood? Does the industry still use sexist imagery to advertise drinks?

These are some of the questions drinks manufacturers are being asked to consider in a new round of consultation by industry watchdog the Portman Group as it prepares to strengthen its code of conduct.

The wide ranging code review includes setting a definition of immoderate consumption to allow the body to address complaints regarding irresponsible sampling promotions or single serve, non-resealable containers.

Other moves on the cards include giving the group’s independent complaints panel greater powers to rule against implications in ads that alcohol can improve mood or mental and physical capabilities and introducing a new rule to address sexist or offensive marketing. Further protection from irresponsible ads for vulnerable individuals will also be discussed.

Kicking off today, industry players have until 6 July to share their views on how the code of conduct should be updated. This is the fifth review of the code, since it came into force in 1996, and the guidance will come into force next spring.

“This is a great opportunity to shape the future of alcohol regulation and I urge anyone with a view on alcohol marketing to get involved,” said Portman Group CEO John Timothy. “We have one of the strongest and most effective systems of self-regulation in the UK and we want to keep it that way.

“By asking challenging and ambitious questions now we can ensure the Code provides the right balance between maintaining the highest standards of responsible marketing and allowing producers the freedom to create great brands and campaigns which are so important to the UK’s economy.”

Stakeholders are requested to send their responses as email attachments to When the new addition of the code is published, players will have a six-month grace period to comply.