Portman Group updates alcohol labelling guidelines

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Industry standards: the Portman Group has set guidelines on information for labels on alcohol (credit: Getty/william87)
Industry standards: the Portman Group has set guidelines on information for labels on alcohol (credit: Getty/william87)

Related tags Beer Health and safety Social responsibility

Alcohol watchdog the Portman Group has updated its Alcohol Labelling Guidelines to provide best practice guidance to UK 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 and builds on the commitment made by Portman Group members in 2019 to include the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidance on its labelling.

Improved access

The guidance builds on more than 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 CMO 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.

Portman Group chief executive Matt Lambert 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.”

Change in profile

Adam Jones, business development and partnerships director at Drinkaware – the alcohol education charity that is supporting the updated guidance – 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.”

The previous edition of the Portman Group’s guidance was published in 2017 in collaboration with the British Beer & Pub Association, National Association of Cider Makers, Scotch Whisky Association, and the Wine & 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. 

Related topics Health & safety

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