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29th November 2022

Update to alcohol Portman Group guidelines: sampling and irresponsible or immoderate consumption

The Portman Group has updated its position on non-sealed alcohol sampling activity in car parks of a licensed premises.

The update applies to sampling guidance and Code rule 3.2f, irresponsible or immoderate consumption. It explains that open container sampling of alcoholic products should not be held in a car park of a licensed premises, for example, a supermarket or pub. This is yet another measure to ensure that producers are not encouraging irresponsible consumption, including drinking alcohol before driving.

This updated guidance is the latest in a long, effective history of initiatives from government and the sector to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving, leading to a 30% decline in drink driving accidents over the past decade.

If you would like to discuss this update further, Matt Lambert, The Portman Group CEO, is available for interview. Please let me know and I can set this up. A blog detailing further information is here.


Notes to editors

  1. The Portman Group was formed in 1989. It is the alcohol industry regulator and social responsibility body. It has over 160 Code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies.
  2. The Portman Group is funded by 17 member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Campari; C&C; Diageo GB; Edrington UK; Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Beverage Company; Pernod Ricard UK; SHS Drinks; Thatchers’; and Treasury Wine Estates.
  3. The Code of Practice for the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was first published in 1996. In 2021, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Code. The Code seeks to ensure that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable. The Code has helped create an industry that works effectively within the context of a self-regulatory model, while encouraging design, innovation and creativity. This has been done in an effective, responsive and inexpensive way.
  • Effectively – over 170 products have been amended or removed from the market. Many hundreds more have been helped to adhere to the Code before appearing on shelves through the support of the Advisory Service;
  • Responsively – there have been five updates to the Code over 25 years responding to changes in public attitudes and expanding its reach; all without recourse to Government or Parliamentary time;
  • Inexpensively – the leading members of the industry are currently funding the model for all to be protected at no cost to the public purse.

Press release from Portman Group.

For more information contact:

Joseph Meaden

Mobile: 07730 525 971