Heineken has lost its appeal against an order to remove all publicity from its French website.

The court decision, handed down on Wednesday (13 February), found Heineken guilty of encouraging consumption of alcoholic drinks through its website. The brewer must now comply with the ruling or face a fine.

"We are very satisfied with the decision," said Alain Rigaud of the anti-alcohol lobby Association Nationale de Prévention en Alcoologie et Addictologie (ANPAA), the lobby group which took the original action against Heineken France.

"Now we wait to see if the wine and spirit producers will ask the government to change the law," he said referring to France's 1991 Evin Law, which controls all alcoholic and tobacco publicity in the company.

The decision, which is expected to have far reaching effects for the wine and spirit industry in France, also included a ruling that a link from an alcoholic drinks promotion site to another website advising moderate consumption was also illegal.

Heineken told just-drinks that it could not comment on the situation as it was preparing a statement.

As of today the site www.heineken.fr was unavailable.