Claims on Brewmeister’s webpage featured a product page depicting a label on a bottle that stated: ‘Snake Venom, THE WORLD’S STRONGEST BEER’.
There was a yellow label visible on the neck of the bottle. Text below stated: ‘Snake Venom 67.5% ... Contains special ingredients to achieve such a high volume of alcohol including smoked peat malt and two types of yeast: beer yeast and champagne yeast.
‘Unlike Armageddon [another Brewmeister product], Snake Venom is not designed to mask the taste of the alcohol. The alcohol is very strong but the beer still tastes like a beer rather than a spirit. It’s hoppy, malty and very pleasant.
‘Snake Venom is so strong that we have put a warning label on the neck of the bottle warning drinkers to beware. To get the correct ABV [alcohol by volume] each batch is tested in the brewery with random batches being checked by external labs.’
On Brewmeister’s ‘our beer’ page, text on the label of an image of the product stated: ‘Snake Venom THE WORLD'S STRONGEST BEER’. Further text stated: ‘SAY GOODBYE TO BORING BEER!’
A complaint was lodged questioning whether the beer had an ABV of 67.5%. In addition, the ASA challenged the website’s implication that the beer might be preferred for its alcohol content or intoxicating effect.
Brewmeister provided a certificate of analysis of the product, which had been performed by a public analyst.
It also said a warning label had been placed at the neck of the bottle, which stated: ‘This beer is strong, do not consume more than 35ml in one sitting.’ It explained they were promoting a drink that was high in quality and, therefore, should be drunk in smaller quantities, unlike a standard beer.
But the ASA pointed out the product’s claim implied it had gone through exactly the same process as standard beer. However, while the certificate stated the product had an ABV of 67.5%, it also indicated it had its fermented alcohol content concentrated by a process of freeze distillation. It also suggested that it was possible that ethyl alcohol had been added to increase its ABV.
Both processes were different from those used to produce standard beer and, because this was not made clear, the ASA concluded the advertising was misleading. It also decided the marketing put too much stress on the beer’s alcoholic strength as a selling point. As a result, it advised that the advert should not appear in its present form.