'Vitamin Beer' coasters banned

Advertising authority orders British brewery to withdraw beer mats

Feb 26, 2003 - British brewery George Gale and Co. has been ordered to withdraw advertising that claims its beer includes vitamins and nutrients.


The Hampshire brewery has been using two-sided beer mats (coasters) that have "Food for thought" on one side with a statement from Brewing Research International under it. That reads: "Beer is an all round food containing a balanced package of nutrients and minerals and can be considered to make a positive contribution to a healthy diet."

Beer matOn the other side, the message is: "Vitamin Beer ... I'll drink to that" with four Gales brand labels below that.

The Advertising Standards Authority ordered the mats withdrawn because, it said, Gale's had not proved its beer had any of the nutritional benefits claimed on its coasters.

The company submitted a review paper, which discussed the nutritional content of beer, to the ASA. It also stated that as a traditional brewer it only used natural ingredients.

The ASA apparently disagrees, issuing a statement that said: "The authority noted that alcohol inhibited the uptake of several vitamins and minerals, because they had not proven that beer had the nutritional benefits claimed in the advertisement, the Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading."

A spokesman for Gale's criticized the decision and suggested it had more to do with the design of the mat than the claims being made.

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