Heineken has been rapped by advertising watchdogs for suggesting its Kronenbourg 1664 lager was sourced and brewed in France.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled that a press ad and a TV ad starring Eric Cantona were misleading for using statements such as “If you find a better tasting French beer, we’ll eat our berets” and “Here in Alsace … The hop farmers are treated like the footballers of Britain”.

The emphasis on the connection with France, and the use of French hops, would lead consumers to believe the entire sourcing, brewing and manufacturing process took place in France, said the ASA.

Heineken said it believed Kronenbourg 1664 could “correctly and reasonably” be described as a French beer because of its heritage, the origin of its recipe and the use of the Strisselspalt hop, as well as its ownership and the yeast type used.

The brewer added that, despite being brewed under license by its UK arm, the lager was an “inherently French beer” that was brewed to a French recipe in the UK, in a process supervised and approved by Brasseries Kronenbourg. It said the Strisselspalt hop was a key ingredient but admitted hops grown outside of France were also used.   

The ASA ruled the ads must not been shown again in theircurrent form.