©Silent Pool Distillers
A complaint against Silent Pool Distillers‘ Colorado High CBD-infused gin has been upheld by the UK alcohol sector’s Independent Complaints Panel.
The Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, received the complaint from a member of the public.
According to the Portman Group, this marked the first complaint about a CBD product under its code of practice for the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.
The Independent Complaints Panel found the product to be in breach of the rules prohibiting association of a drink with illegal drugs or with therapeutic qualities.
The panel concluded that certain features of the gin’s packaging created an indirect association with illicit drugs. These included the use of the word ‘high’, and the reference to Colorado, one of the first US states to decriminalise recreational cannabis which, unlike CBD, is an illicit drug in the UK.
The panel noted that CBD was widely marketed as providing pain relief and other health benefits, and that consumers may assume that an alcoholic drink containing the substance had health benefits.
The bottle’s product descriptor includes lines such as ‘A sensory infusion of wellness-enhancing CBD and refreshingly complex gin’, and the panel concluded that such wellbeing claims, combined with the description ‘CBD Gin’ on the front of the bottle, suggested the product had therapeutic qualities.
The panel considered that producers should give consumers information about the inclusion of CBD as an ingredient, when present, but could convey that without referring to CBD in the product name.
Following the panel’s decision on the gin, the Portman Group says that Silent Pool Distillers has decided not to work with its advisory service on revising the product.
As a result, a Retailer Alert Bulletin (RAB) will be sent to more than 130 signatories of the code, including major supermarkets. It will allow retailers to sell any remaining stock but prevent them from re-ordering the product in its current form after 20 April 2021.
Nicola Williams, the chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, said: “After careful consideration, the panel decided that Colorado High was in breach of two of the code’s rules. We would urge producers to think carefully about how they place a CBD descriptor on their product’s packaging.
“It is important that CBD is viewed as an ingredient, rather than a suggestion of therapeutic or health benefits.”
The Portman Group is currently developing guidance to aid producers in their use of CBD in alcohol products.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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