For those of you who have read the below post about the Portman Group's nonsense shennanigans over Brew Dog and are getting a bit confused (as was I) over the Orkney Skull Splitter issue here's some clarification.
The Portman Group, clearly having more funding than sense, hired a management consultancy to 'carry out an independent audit to measure compliance of drinks packaging with the Code'.
Okay, before I go on to explain how Orkney got dragged into this, I first have to say WHAT?!
The drinks industry watchdog has to hire someone else to 'watch' drinks labelling to see if it complies with its own Code that it (the Portman Group) is mandated to uphold - does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
Anyway, apparently Orkney was one of the sample drinks that were looked at and it was deemed 'potentially' in breach of Code rule 3.2b for the following reason:
"The name 'Skull Splitter' implies both violence and also the impact that the strength may have on the drinker. Additionally there is a picture which could be seen to reinforce the aggressive theme."
But, and here's the thing, the Portman Group itself recently upheld a complaint against a pre-mixed vodka drink because it wasn't clear that it contained alcohol!
I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this point but I'm going to make it anyway, so how does this sit with the assertion that Skull Splitter advertises 'the impact the alcohol strength will have on the drinker' - surely that's a good thing?
But, all the other issues aside, my major issue with this 'independent audit' is that it has been undertaken in a codified vacuum, without reference to reality.
The isolated way in which the sample drinks names have been assessed completely fails to take them in any form of context, which means the whole report is effectively null and void as an analytical tool.
I will give the Portman Group the benefit of the doubt that they undertook this report as a genuine attempt to assess whether or not they were proving effective in their role as labelling watchdog, but I really wish they'd admit that the whole thing is fundamentally flawed and abandon this scaremongering approach amongst producers who are already under enormous amounts of financial pressure as it is.