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Super-strong beer barred from bars

By Steve Green on Dec 3, 09 10:10 PM

A controversial beer with a staggering strength of 18.2% ABV can no longer be sold by British bars, clubs and shops following a ruling by the brewing industry's own watchdog, the Portman Group.

The ruling came in the wake of complaints that Fraserburgh-based BrewDog was encouraging excessive drinking with its current packaging.

Labels on the Tokyo* brand - which sells at £10 per bottle - suggest people must, from time to time, enjoy excessive behaviour, adding: "This beer is for those times."

Portman Group chief executive David Poley told the BBC: "We don't regulate the alcohol content of drinks, but we do control how they are promoted. It's obviously unwise for any company to urge consumers to drink to excess.

"We won't allow any irresponsible marketing, whether it's for a big brand or a niche product. That's why we're taking action to restrict future sales of this beer."

BrewDog's co-founder, Martin Dickie, was unrepentant: "The Portman Group's decision to ban Tokyo* highlights the misdirection of their organisation.

"Like all of our specialist beers, it was only available online at our website and in five specialist beer retailers throughout the UK.

"They should perhaps concentrate their efforts on targeting the brands selling 24 cans of lager for £7 - where literal excess is contributing to Scotland's problem with alcohol."

The brewery followed up Tokyo* with a low alcohol beer called Nanny State, but made headlines last week after it launched an even stronger beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, with an ABV of 32%.

Authors

Toby Jugg

Toby Jugg - A former newspaper reporter, Steve Green now works as a freelance journalist and technical writer. He first joined the Campaign for Real Ale in the mid-1980s and currentlyproduces a regular column for Solihull CAMRA in the Solihull Times, under the pseudonym "Toby Jugg".

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