Scottish craft brewer Brewmeister has been hammered by the ad watchdog over boastful and misleading claims made about its 67.5% proof Snake Venom brand, dubbed “the world’s strongest beer”.
Claims on www.brewmeister.co.uk featured a product page promoting Snake Venom which said: “The alcohol is very strong but the beer still tastes like a beer rather than a spirit. It’s hoppy, malty and very pleasant. Snake Venom is so strong that we have put a warning label on the neck of the bottle warning drinkers to beware.” Further text stated: “Say goodbye to boring beer.”
But one complainant challenged whether the claim that the product had an alcohol strength of 67.5% was misleading and could be substantiated. Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority launched its own probe to investigate whether the ad implied the drink may be preferred because of its intoxicating effect, and whether the information about the strength of the drink had been given undue emphasis.
In defence of the first complaint, Brewmeister provided an independent analysis of the product which claimed to show it was indeed 67.5% proof.
It also said a warning label had been placed at the neck of the bottle, which stated “This beer is strong, do not consume more than 35ml in one sitting”. It explained it was promoting a drink that was high in quality and, therefore, should be drunk in smaller quantities, more like a spirit than a standard beer.
However, the ASA was not impressed with either line of defence. On the first count it noted that the brand was far from just a beer as fermented alcohol content was concentrated by a process of freeze distillation and ethyl alcohol may have been added to increase its strength.
It also believed that other claims, such as “the world’s strongest beer” and “say goodbye to boring beer” placed an undue emphasis on the product’s high alcoholic content and contributed to the overall impression that the product might be preferred because of its intoxicating effect.
Banning the ad, the ASA said it must not appear again in its current form and also warned Brewmeister about its future marketing activity.
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact email@example.com). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get them reset!