Tag Archives alcohol

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) have reintroduced legislation that would "ensure that kombucha beverages are exempt from excise taxes and regulations intended specifically for beer and other alcoholic beverages," according to a press release. The KOMBUCHA Act would increase the alcohol-by-volume level at which alcohol taxes would be applied to kombucha, "a nonintoxicating beverage made from a combination of tea, water, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast," to 1.25% rather than the existing standard of 0.5%. "This amount of alcohol in kombucha is usually less than 0.5 percent alcohol, but because of the natural process of fermentation, the alcohol content may occasionally increase slightly, especially during transport or handling by third parties," the press release states. "Today, under the Internal Revenue Code, beverages with more than 0.5 percent alcohol-by-volume are subject to excise taxes intended for beer. But the reality is, consumers do…

Three consumers have filed a putative class action alleging Kombucha 221 B.C. sells kombucha that contains "more than twice the allowed alcohol" for a nonalcohol beverage. Brothers v. Mad at S.A.D. LLC, No. 21-60542 (S.D. Fla., filed March 9, 2021). The plaintiffs, who allege they purchased the kombucha for consumption at work, argue that the kombucha beverages "are sold to unsuspecting children, pregnant women, persons suffering with alcohol dependence issues, and a host of other people for whom alcoholic consumption may pose a grave and immediate safety risk." The complaint asserts that the nature of kombucha allows the product to continue fermenting, growing to a higher percentage of alcohol by volume by the time the product is consumed. "While Plaintiffs do not know whether BC Kombucha is below 0.5 alcohol by volume at the moment it leaves Defendant’s distribution center, what is clear is that the beverages are significantly above…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against BrewDog Beer for a print ad and an outdoor poster ad that displayed "F--k You CO2. Brewdog Beer Is Now Carbon Negative" with the dashes obscured by a can of beer. ASA found that the poster ad "had been placed in accordance with guidelines on proximity to schools and religious buildings; that the ad had run during school summer holidays and that one local authority (Newcastle City Council) had been asked and considered the ad acceptable for use." However, the board found that the ad "was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and was not appropriate for display in untargeted media." ASA upheld the complaint as it…

Europol and Interpol have announced the seizure of 320 additional tonnes of "counterfeit and substandard food and beverages" following an operation that involved 83 countries, bringing the operation's seizure total to about 12,000 tonnes. "This year’s operational activities have found a new disturbing trend to address: the infiltration of low-quality products into the supply chain, a development possibly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic," the press release notes. The operation, which focused on dairy foods, olive oil, alcohol and horse meat, also identified counterfeit cereals, grains and derived products as well as coffee, tea and condiments.

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has reportedly ruled that Jägermeister can use its logo, "a stag with a shining white cross between its antlers," on a variety of products in Switzerland because it is not offensive to religion. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property had argued for a restriction on the use of the logo, asserting that the "image was offensive to the religious leanings of some consumers," according to Swiss Info. The court reportedly disagreed, finding that consumers associate the logo with Jägermeister rather than the story of St. Hubert that inspired the logo.

The Portman Group, the U.K. alcohol industry's self-regulatory authority, has upheld a complaint against Trinchero Family Estates for its Ménage à Trois Midnight wine. Zenith Global brought a complaint arguing that the wine's name and marketing copy may breach the code by creating links between the product and sexual activity or sexual success. The panel agreed, finding that the text on the label—including "savour the pleasures of the dark"—did not dispel the sexual connotations of the Ménage à Trois name, which purportedly refers to the wine's blend of three varietals. “In this case, the Panel urged the producer to avoid linking the sexual meaning of the name to the product and remove the text description on the bottle which did this," the panel's chair commented in a press release. "The Panel’s decision is a reminder to all producers that care must be taken when marketing a product to ensure that…

A Florida federal court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Bacardi U.S.A.'s Bombay Sapphire contains a botanical classified as an adulterant in the state. Marrache v. Bacardi U.S.A., No. 19-23856 (S.D. Fla., entered January 28, 2020). "Numerous class actions have greatly benefited society, such as Brown v. Board of Education, In re Exxon Valdez, and In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation," the court's decision began. "This is not one of those class actions." The plaintiff "does not allege that the bottle of gin he bought containing grains of paradise caused him any health issues or other harm," the court noted. "He instead alleges that the product was 'worthless' because it was adulterated with grains of paradise." The court found that the 1868 Florida law prohibiting grains of paradise in alcohol was preempted by federal regulations finding that the botanical is generally regarded as safe. The plaintiff argued that the…

The French government has reportedly abandoned a campaign suggesting French people abstain from drinking alcohol during the month of January following pressure from wine producers. The plan was apparently inspired by a promotion launched by a U.K. advocacy group in 2013 that encourages alcohol abstinence during January and mindful alcohol consumption in the months that follow. The French health minister reportedly confirmed that discussion for a Dry January campaign would not be held until a ministerial health prevention committee meeting in February 2020.

The Portman Group, a U.K. alcohol industry self-regulatory group, has upheld a complaint against the Bearded Brewery for the name of its high-alcohol cider, Suicyder. A member of the public complained about the beverage name's reference to suicide, calling Suicyder "clearly irresponsible" because it purportedly targets young men—"the group at highest risk of suicide"—and uses associated iconography, such as the tagline "juice from the noose." The company asserted that the "name of the cider was based on a wordplay with the intention being to indicate the strength of the alcohol content" and explained that the tagline was a reference to the founders' previous work with the Forestry Commission that required them to use a noose to dismantle unsafe trees. The panel was unpersuaded by tagline explanation, noting that "a consumer would have to understand this inside knowledge to displace the main connotation portrayed by the product name and imagery on…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against The Cornish Rum Co. against its ads marketing Dead Man's Fingers Hemp Rum. The complainant asserted that two Instagram posts and an ad in a trade magazine used language linking the hemp-infused rum to cannabis, including "Delicious mixed with coke or ginger ale—serve chilled, man. Coming to a joint near you." Another Instagram post featured an image of an outdoor ad reading "Warning: Our Hemp Rum May Cause the Munchies" along with "an image of a skull which was smoking and wearing a hat with a cannabis leaf print." The trade magazine ad included the text "Dealers Wanted." ASA dismissed the portion of the complaint arguing that the ad was intended to appeal to an audience under 18, finding that the images "were not references associated with youth culture and that overall the colours and imagery used gave each…

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