New guidelines launched for alcohol labelling

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The Portman Group has updated its best practice Alcohol Labelling Guidelines for producers
The Portman Group has updated its best practice Alcohol Labelling Guidelines for producers

Related tags Drinks

Drinks watchdog The Portman Group has updated its best practice Alcohol Labelling Guidelines for producers, which gives information how to communicate alcohol and health-related information to consumers, across multiple channels.

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. 

Some producers already provide calorie information on their bottles. In November 2021 the Portman Group revealed​ that almost half (47%) carried the calorie information in addition to other health warning.

The Government unveiled its plan to consult over alcohol labelling​ in its obesity strategy which was launched in July 2020 in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. 


The new guidelines from the Portman Group also recognise that there are limitations on the space of labels. And in response to changing consumer behaviour, the report says the industry must adapt not only the information it provides, but also how and where information is made available: through apps, via websites, web-links, etc. 

It said: “These platforms have the capability of conveying geo-specific, accurate, comprehensive advice on responsible drinking and they are not space restricted compared to the limitations of product packaging. Labels still play an important role in conveying key information and must include certain information but they can also be utilised alongside other platforms.” 

The report also said that there is a danger that too much on product packaging diminishes the impact and legibility of all information.  

Industry standards

Matt Lambert, ceo of the Portman Group 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.”

This comes as Drinkaware, the independent UK alcohol education charity, has lowered its licensing price for the use of its logo for smaller producers and re-sellers. 

Adam Jones, Business Development & Partnerships Director at Drinkaware, 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.”


Related topics Drinks Packaging & Labelling

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