Watchdog asks for Jody Scheckter's beer to be removed from shelves because of child's design (From This is Hampshire)
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Watchdog asks for Jody Scheckter's beer to be removed from shelves because of child's design
FORMULA 1 ace Jody Scheckter has come out fighting after watchdogs asked for his organic beers to be removed from the shelves.
The beer, made at Mr Scheckter’s Laverstoke Park Farm near Overton, could be pulled because the label features a child’s drawing.
Industry-funded alcohol watchdog the Portman Group received a complaint about the bottles, which show a picture of a farmer, because the crayon drawing is the same as the image used on Laverstoke’s apple juice.
Portman claims this breaches marketing rules because it could appeal to children.
The picture, which is used on all of Laverstoke’s products and has been on the alcoholic drinks for five years, was drawn by Mr Scheckter’s son when he was four-years-old.
The ex-Formula 1 champion, who has sold 170,000 bottles of the beer without complaint, said: “No one in their right mind believes four-year-olds will drink beer because of our label.”
His son Freddie drew the picture of his dad wearing green wellies and overalls a decade ago.
Portman has issued a Retailer Alert Bulletin to retailers, police licensing officers, Trading Standards officers, licensing magistrates and other interested parties.
The ale and lager drinks are sold in various supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and although the bulletin carries no legal force, retailers are unlikely to flout its guidance.
Mr Scheckter has promised to fight the Portman Group. In a letter to them, he said: “This reaction to products that have been on sale for almost five years and sold over 170,000 bottles versus a single complaint, seems excessive to say the least.
“No retailers have reported problems with under-18s attempting to buy Laverstoke ale or lager.”
He now faces an expensive rebranding of the entire range, and said: “The big boys want to show they are doing something and so they’re going after the small people.”
He added: “We don’t sell anything to children. We sell expensive organic produce.”