Watchdog calls last orders on alcopop game

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The Independent Online
AN ALCOPOP maker has been ordered to drop instructions for a pub drinking game from bottle labels, under the code which regulates the marketing of alcohol.

Three other alcopop makers have also been ordered to change their bottle labels because the independent panel which investigates complaints felt they did not make it clear exactly how much alcohol was in the drinks.

The Portman Group, which monitors the marketing of the controversial fizzy alcoholic drinks, backed complaints that promoting the game Spoof could encourage binge drinking.

Instructions on the back of bottles of the alcoholic grapefruit drink - also called Spoof - encouraged groups of drinkers to pick an "odd person out" by trying to guess how many coins people were holding in their hands.

Although in this instance the loser only had to buy the next round of drinks, adjudicators said other versions of the same game were linked to excessive drinking. They said this made the link irresponsible, encouraging "immoderate consumption and binge drinking". The maker, Cott Europe, agreed to scrap the packaging.

"There's quite a lot of evidence linking drinking games with immoderate consumption and the panel felt using a game on an alcoholic drink label was making an unfortunate link between the product and drinking games generally," said a spokeswoman for the Portman Group.

In the cases of Dr Thirsty's Orange Punch, Fruit Concorde Banana Split and Sorba, the Portman Group said that the nature of the drinks was unclear because the use of the word "alcohol" or "alcoholic" was not sufficiently prominent. All three companies who make the drinks, Wychwood Brewery, Matthew Clark and Scottish Courage, agreed to take action.

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