Portman Group Updates Alcohol Labelling Guidelines

The Portman Group, the alcohol social responsibility body and alcohol marketing self-regulator, today has updated its Alcohol Labelling Guidelines providing best practice guidance to alcohol producers.

The Guidance sets the minimum recommended best practice elements for product labelling, which includes the provision of unit information, a pregnancy message or symbol, and a direction to Drinkaware. This update also now includes the recommendation to include the Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines 2016. This builds on the commitment made by Portman Group members in 2019 to include the CMO guidance on their labelling.

The previous edition was published in 2017 in collaboration with the British Beer and Pub Association, National Association of Cider Makers, Scotch Whisky Association, and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The updated guidance is now also formally supported by the Society of Independent Brewers, ensuring that there is a more explicit consideration of the role of smaller producers in sharing public health information.

The Guidance builds on over a decade of success in improving access to information, resulting in more than 99% of products containing a pregnancy warning message or logo, 94% demonstrating unit content, 93% displaying a Drinkaware or responsibility message, and almost four in five (79%) carrying the latest UK Chief Medical Officer low risk drinking guidelines (Portman Group, Market Review, September 2021 – research of June/July 2021). Producers looking to implement the guidance are encouraged to use the Portman Group’s free Advisory Service, which offers confidential support to producers in developing their marketing.

In response to the updated guidance, Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group said: “The Portman Group continues to set industry standards effectively, responsively, and at no cost to the public purse. We are proud of the huge progress made by the industry which already widely commits to responsible alcohol labelling. This updated guidance will further enhance adherence, and we hope will help small producers continue to market their products responsibly.”

This comes as Drinkaware, the independent UK alcohol education charity, lowers its licensing price for smaller producers and re-sellers. Drinkaware want to reach as many people at the risk of harmful drinking through having a strong message across most producers and re-sellers of alcohol to the public. From mid-June any organisation with an annual turnover from alcohol sales of £2.5m (inc duty, exc VAT) or less can apply to use Drinkaware’s protected IP via www.drinkaware.co.uk. The cost of the agreement will be £50 + VAT per annum, with the aim to support widespread take up across industry’s smaller producers and operators.

Adam Jones, Business Development & Partnerships Director at Drinkaware said: “We hope that by making the Drinkaware logo license fee more accessible and cost effective for smaller producers and re-sellers we can reach as many people as possible who are at risk of harmful drinking. We also think this is an important step in recognising the change in the profile of the drinks industry which has seen a huge number of smaller producers and sellers emerge over recent years.”