Alcopop bottles hit by Government ban

Major drinks manufacturers face having to make radical changes to their pack designs to comply with stricter Governmental regulations on the sale and marketing of alcohol.

Strict rules on design have been laid down by industry body the Portman Group, to try to quieten fears that the alcohol sector, and the alcopop market in particular, is becoming increasingly attractive to underage drinkers.

A Portman Group spokesman says several “major and minor manufacturers are now looking at changing their designs” although he refuses to give names.

The most likely brands to be hit are alcopops which are mainly packaged in vividly coloured bottles. Under the Portman Group’s new code of conduct, drinks labels using “artificially bright colours” or “child-like lettering” are now banned.

Whitbread, which makes the garishly coloured Wild Brew alcoholic energy drink has already ordered its design group Jones Knowles Ritchie back to the drawing board. This week, Bass, which makes the leading alcopop brand Hooper’s Hooch says it too was “looking at the brand” in the light of the regulations.

Bass has already faced one costly redesign last October when it was asked to drop cartoon characters from its bottles. But the replacement bottles, created by Design Bridge, may also fall foul of the new guidelines because they use vivid colouring and cartoon-like lettering.

Other restrictions include a ban on designs and brands suggesting a connection with illicit drugs – again a potential problem for Whitbread, whose guarana leaf design on bottles bares an uncanny resemblance to the marijuana leaf.

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