The packaging accompanying a colourfully named range of beers including Cat’s Piss, Dandelion & Birdshit, Arse Liquor, Puke, Shitfaced and Knobhead have been banned in the UK following complaints by a city council.
The Public Health Team at Newcastle City Council lodged a formal complaint with the Portman Group, the UK’S regulatory board for the marketing of alcohol, over fears that the beers’ packing irresponsibly targeted those aged under 18.
In response to the complaints, the independent brewer said none of its products were intended to appeal to under-18s and that the vast majority of its drinks were sold at retail events during which it operates a Challenge 25 policy.
The panel, however, said that frequent references to scatological humour, defecation, urination, genitalia, vomiting and other bodily functions, could prove particularly attractive to those aged under 18, an appeal it said was exacerbated by the use of cartoon illustrations.
Complaints over 10 products were upheld by the Portman Group who ultimately found the company in breach of its marketing guidelines on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.
In a statement it said: “Puke, Shi*tfaced and Kn*bhead were deemed to encourage illegal, irresponsible, or immoderate consumption. Big C**k and Kn*bhead were found in breach for suggesting an association with sexual activity, whilst Sh*tfaced and Yellow Snow were found in breach for suggesting an association with bravado, violence, aggression, or anti-social behaviour.”
Two further complaints regarding Direct Beers’ Grumpy Git and Lazy Sod products were not upheld. Henry Ashworth, secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, added: “‘It is vitally important that alcohol producers ensure that their drinks do not in any way appeal to children, encourage violence, anti-social behaviour or immoderate drinking, or make references to sexual activity.
“There is a place for humour in alcohol marketing, as the Panel’s decisions on Grumpy Git and Lazy Sod show – but it is important to know where to draw the line.”
UK retailers have been asked not to place orders for the products in its current packaging. Direct Beers has not yet confirmed whether it will make any amendments to its products.