Thames Reach
Friday 23 June 2017
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Thames Reach complaint to the Portman Group

A decision on a complaint by Thames Reach to the Portman Group on the packaging and promotion of dangerous super-strength beers by UK drinks companies is to be announced this Friday (16/01/15).


The complaint to the drinks industry’s self-regulatory body was lodged against the super-strength market leaders including Carlsberg Special Brew, Skol Super and Kestrel Super which are produced in half-litre cans and contain four and a half units of alcohol.


It argues that the consumption of a single can takes the individual above the government's own daily alcohol unit guideline limits of 2-3 units for a woman and 3-4 units for a man.

The packaging of the super-strength brands urges consumers to 'enjoy responsibly' or 'please drink responsibly'.


The contention of the complaint is that it is contradictory and irresponsible for the companies producing these super-strength lagers in 500ml cans to do so in cans of such a large size and at such a strength that means the consumption of a single can takes the consumer above the unit limits recommended by government.


Thames Reach works with over 7,000 homeless and vulnerable individuals every year and around 40% have alcohol dependency problems with the vast majority (a recent poll indicates 96%) drinking super-strength lagers and ciders.


Jeremy Swain, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said: “Reducing the strength of super-strength drinks and/or the size of the unresealable cans containing them would bring these drinks within government guidelines and help the drinks industry in its commitment to encouraging the responsible consumption of alcohol.


“I have no doubt that such a step would significantly reduce the damaging impact  of these drinks  on the health of our clients and ultimately reduce the number  of alcohol related deaths that, sadly, we experience with depressing regularity. It would be a move that would be welcomed not only by Thames Reach, but by other professionals across the country working with alcohol-dependent men and women.”

Portman Group complaint
Portman Group complaint - [76 KB] Download the Portman Group complaint.