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Packaging complaints upheld

Published:  23 July, 2008

A total of eight complaints were made about drinks packaging in the UK in 2006, according to responsible drinking organisation The Portman Group, with gift packs like the one pictured right making up the majority.

The outgoing chairman of the group's independent complaints panel, Lord Condon, said that the main topic of complaint this year was appeal to under-18s'.

The two complaints that were upheld concerned the Bubbly and Bear Gift pack', produced by Blue Sky Beverage Company exclusively for Asda, and Wee Beastie, made by Inver House Distillers.

In the case of the gift pack, which contains a miniature bottle of Cavalier sparkling wine, the panel acknowledged that neither company had deliberately set out to target under-18s', but decided that the pack did have a particular appeal' to that age group. Asda has confirmed that the product will be removed from its stores.

A complaint against Wee Beastie, a vodka-based drink flavoured with raspberry and blackcurrant, was also upheld by the panel. It said it was concerned that the grinning spider imagery was both cartoon-like and childlike', and concluded that the design, with its garish pink and yellow colours' and Adults Only' warning would have particular appeal to under-18s'.

As a result, Inver House Distillers has taken down the brand's website, and has sought advice on amending the packaging.

The Portman Group's chief executive, David Poley, said that the low number of complaints in 2006 may be taken as a good sign'.