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Weapon of Over Reaction

Portman Group bans Kalashnikov vodka.

A product whose sales won’t be growing – at least not in the UK – is Kalashnikov Vodka.  The Portman Group’s ruling that the name "encouraged violence" and will have to be changed is right on the border line between "logical" and "paranoid".

The brand owner’s furious incomprehension is understandable, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the drink has become the first innocent victim of the de facto war between the government and the drinks industry.  Most of the Portmans Group’s complaints concern products that are aiming at the edgy "yoof" market, and they have been quick to stamp down on anything that might encourage underage drinking, in particular.

Yet, in this instance, the product is clearly aimed at adults and, has a decidedly non-warlike portrait of the brand owner on the label; the same gentleman who invented the world-famous assault rifle.

The problem, it seems, is less the product itself than the febrile mood in the UK.  With the drinks industry under intense governmental scrutiny, The Portman Group is likely to be taking no chances for the foreseeable future, and if I was serving Archers or Singapore Slings I’d be a worried man.

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