Hardknott head brewer Dave Bailey said a complaint from a member of the public had been upheld by Portman’s independent complaints panel, though Portman said it could not confirm this was the case.
Bailey said the case had focused on the word “tonic” in a tasting note, but it’s understood the panel took a broader view on whether the whole label description could be seen as improving physical or mental strength.
The label for the 11% abv Vitesse Noir Triple Vanilla Mocha Stout claimed the beer was “packed full of beans” and “could have you dancing on the ceiling”, before adding: “Take a nip and it’ll be just the tonic you need”.
Bailey said the description was designed to indicate that the beer was a “refreshing drink” but admitted that the words on the label were “a bit provocative”.
He added: “We understand that the general public is concerned about over-consumption of alcohol and cheap beer in supermarkets, but this is something very different. We are not marketing to hit the bargain basement.”
A Portman spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a member of the public has made a complaint about Vitesse Noir for its irresponsible packaging. In fairness to both complainants and producers, we do not comment on individual cases until the independent complaints panel’s decision is published.”