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UK: Brewdog Tokyo* beer banned by watchdog

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Scottish brewer BrewDog's controversial Tokyo* beer has been banned from bars, clubs and shops across the UK by the Portman Group, the drinks industry's self-regulatory body.

Campaign group Alcohol Focus Scotland and a member of the public complained that a message on the drink's label encouraged excessive drinking.

Tokyo* has an 18% abv.

The bottle label says people must, from time to time, have excess, and adds: "This beer is for those times."

Portman Group's Independent Complaints Panel has decided that the beer breaks its code, which sets minimum, mandatory standards for drinks producer marketing.

The Portman Group said it is now issuing a 'Retailer Alert Bulletin' asking retailers to stop selling the drink until its marketing is altered to comply with the code.

"We don't regulate the alcohol content of drinks but we do control how they are promoted," said David Poley, Portman Group chief executive. "It's obviously unwise for any company to urge consumers to drink to excess. We won't allow any irresponsible marketing whether it's for a big brand or a niche product.  That's why we're taking action to restrict future sales of this beer."

The panel did, however, dismiss complaints that the product's packaging unduly emphasised its strength and that the expression "intergalactic fantastic" on the label was a reference to the effects of illicit drugs.

In response, BrewDog managing director James Watt said The Portman Group's decision to ban Tokyo* highlights the "misdirection of their organisation".

"Tokyo* is a very challenging, full flavoured craft beer, which pushes the boundaries of what beer can be. As a company we are completely for responsible consumption. We want to elevate the status of beer and challenge people's perceptions of what beer is and how they can enjoy it. Groups like Portman and Alcohol Aware should be completely behind what we are doing," Watt said.

BrewDog made headlines last week after it launched an even stronger beer at 32% called Tactical Nuclear Penguin


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: The Portman Group

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