The group said it found Pernod Ricard in breach of alcohol marketing rules for failing to communicate the abv of its eponymous anise-based spirit.
It said that although the abv statement featured on the front label of the bottle, the colour of the text meant the statement did not stand out and was therefore not legible, and put out a retailer bulletin asking the trade not to order stock in this packaging after September.
Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest spirits company, accused the Portman Group – of which it is a leading member – of “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.
Managing director Denis O'Flynn said: “Pernod Ricard UK does not share the Independent Complaints Panel’s view that the abv as stated on the front label is 'not easily legible'.
“We do accept that we must comply with the findings of the ICP and therefore we have already given instruction to the producers in France to modify the label in accordance with the ICP wishes.
“Pernod Ricard UK has shared the revised label with the Portman Group who confirmed the new label is in compliance with the code. This modification will be carried out as soon as is practical and Pernod Ricard UK has communicated this to the Portman Group.
“Pernod Ricard UK is therefore very disappointed with the issuing of the retailer alert bulletin, which in our view is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”