Cans on Ice

Alcohol alternatives like Lucky Saint lager have grown in popularity in recent years

Booze industry watchdog the Portman Group has launched a guide to help low & no-alcohol producers adhere to responsible marketing practices.

The new principles would “ensure alcohol alternative products are marketed and sold responsibly to consumers”, the Portman Group said.

Despite having an abv of 0.5% or below, alcoholic alternatives should not – “as products aimed squarely at adults” – have particular appeal to under-18s, it said.

Packaging should also make clear that the drink in question is at or below the threshold to be considered an alcoholic drink (0.5% abv), it added.

As a precaution, the marketing of alcohol alternatives should not depict or reference being consumed during pregnancy, according to the watchdog.

“Those who are or may be pregnant will make their own educated choices about whether they wish to drink products at 0.0% [abv]”, it said.

In line with the marketing of alcoholic products, alcohol alternatives should also not associate consumption with social or sexual success, depict people who are, or look as if they are, under 25 years of age, or cause serious or widespread offence.

“Alcohol alternatives have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, and the Portman Group has responded by creating new marketing principles to help producers market these products responsibly,” said Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert. “It is clear that consumers are gravitating to alcohol alternatives either as a moderation tool to cut down on their drinking or as part of a healthier lifestyle.

“Our new guidance aims to help producers be clear and transparent in their marketing, ensuring that information is provided to consumers when considering which products to buy.”

The guidance came as new YouGov research commissioned by the Portman Group found over a third (35%) of alcohol drinkers now considered themselves an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives.

Almost a quarter (23%) of UK drinkers reported seeing their alcohol consumption fall due to low & no-alcohol products.