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'Class A' beer fails Portman test

Published:  20 January, 2009

A beer that plays on the potentially lethal practice of mixing Class A drugs in its marketing has fallen foul of the Portman Group's Code of Practice.

The body's Independent Complaints Panel upheld a complaint about BrewDog's Speedball beer brought by Alcohol Focus Scotland, saying its marketing was associated with illicit drugs.

BrewDog had marketed the beer as a "class A ale" containing "a vicious cocktail of active ingredients" which creates "a happy-sad" effect.

But David Poley, Portman Group Chief Executive, said: "The blurring of alcohol and illicit drugs fosters unhealthy attitudes to drinking and trivialises drug misuse.

"BrewDog is profiteering from the scourge of illegal drugs, mocking the misery caused by misuse."

A speedball is the name given to the notorious cocktail of cocaine and heroin which caused the deaths of Hollywood stars River Pheonix and James Belushi.