Smirnoff Ice, the successful RTD, has come under attack in the US for misleading consumers over its contents.

The advertising, labels and packaging of the drink are being referred to US authorities after a competitor complained consumers were being led to believe the drink contained the parent brand Smirnoff vodka in it.

While Smirnoff Ice does contain vodka in its European markets, it is a malt-based beverage in the US, because of tax laws on spirits.

According to US pres reports, the issue has bee referred to the Federal Trade Comission and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firemarms, following a complaint by Mark Anthony International, a Canadian company that makes Mike's Hard Lemonade, another malt based beverage.

The complaint stems from the use of the Smirnoff parent brand to sell Smirnoff Ice, which Anthony says was was confusing consumers into expecting Smirnoff vodka to be an ingredient in Smirnoff Ice when it contains no vodka.

Diageo, the owners of the Smirnoff brand have declined to take part in the review of the complaint, according to the reports, saying that the organization had no jurisdiction because the Smirnoff Ice label had already been approved by the federal alcohol bureau.
 
"We don't have an issue with that,'' said Gary Galanis, a spokesman for Guinness UDV, adding: ''Clearly, Smirnoff Ice is a malt beverage. It says so on our bottle."