Laverstoke Park Farm fights Portman Group over beer bottle label drawn by child

Jody Scheckter says beer bottle battle could end his brewing

Jody Scheckter says beer bottle battle could end his brewing

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

EX-FORMULA One champion Jody Scheckter says the battle of the bottles could sink his brewing operation.

As previously reported in The Gazette, alcohol watchdog organisation Portman Group asked retailers to remove his Laverstoke Park Farm beer from its shelves because the picture of the farmer on the bottle is drawn by a child. The industry-funded watchdog claims this breaches marketing rules because it could appeal to children.

Mr Scheckter, who owns the farm near Overton, said: “I have no intention of bowing down to the Portman Group. In my opinion, it is because they are not challenged that they make such nonsensical decisions.”

But he warned that the Portman decision could end his organic brewing enterprise. He said: “As a small company, we cannot afford to have a nationwide advertising campaign to re-launch the product so the potential for our losses is considerable and it may mean that it is no longer viable for us to produce our award-winning beers.”

He said there could well be a plunge in sales when consumers no longer recognise the product if it is re-labelled. But he said he hoped retailers including the supermarkets, would not “cow-tow” to whatever the Portman group dictated.

Laverstoke has sold more than 170,000 bottles of its ale and lager since 2007, featuring a label design drawn by Mr Scheckter’s son when he was four. The Retailer Alert Bulletin issued by Portman advises that the beers should no longer be sold with the current labelling after January 7, next year. Henry Ashworth, chief executive of Portman Group, said the use of a child’s drawing was “entirely inappropriate for alcohol drinks’ labels”.

He added: “There are no exceptions to the rule which says that alcohol packaging must not appeal to children. “We understand that producers don’t deliberately set out to break the rules but they must be extra vigilant when it comes to marketing alcohol.”

Comments (9)

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7:18pm Thu 15 Nov 12

BugBear says...

Good for you Mr Scheckter, don't give in to these small minded nonentities who only make rules because they do. Petty, nasty, stupid bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than interfere in others lives, control freaks like Captain Mainwaring of Dad's Army who have to spoil others dreams and ambitions to justify their shortcomings and pointless existence. Hang on in there, common sense will prevail.
Good for you Mr Scheckter, don't give in to these small minded nonentities who only make rules because they do. Petty, nasty, stupid bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than interfere in others lives, control freaks like Captain Mainwaring of Dad's Army who have to spoil others dreams and ambitions to justify their shortcomings and pointless existence. Hang on in there, common sense will prevail. BugBear
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Best_Name_Ever says...

Although I agree that this is nonsense coming from the Portman Group, Jody Schecketer could very, very easily afford to rebrand his organic beer and is not giving his product enough credit if he believes that he would lose consumers if he stuck a different label on the bottle. Good on him for fighting, but I am not falling for the 'if I cant keep the label I can't afford to keep the product' statement.
Although I agree that this is nonsense coming from the Portman Group, Jody Schecketer could very, very easily afford to rebrand his organic beer and is not giving his product enough credit if he believes that he would lose consumers if he stuck a different label on the bottle. Good on him for fighting, but I am not falling for the 'if I cant keep the label I can't afford to keep the product' statement. Best_Name_Ever
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Thu 15 Nov 12

lovemychildren says...

In what way does it appeal to children??!!
Hopefully children won't be down the alcohol aisle in the 1st place but if they were, don't you think the bright, rainbow coloured varieties of the alcopops would be more appealing!
Keep fighting Jody!
In what way does it appeal to children??!! Hopefully children won't be down the alcohol aisle in the 1st place but if they were, don't you think the bright, rainbow coloured varieties of the alcopops would be more appealing! Keep fighting Jody! lovemychildren
  • Score: 0

9:00am Fri 16 Nov 12

Buster Preciation says...

I don't know whether his small company can afford a nationwide advertising campaign or not. But surely this is the sort of story that tabloids love - small business versus bureaucracy. Time to escalate it methinks. All the publicity Laverstoke could wish for.
If he is forced to rebrand then some image that takes the mickey out of the Portman Group would seem to be in order. Followed by more media coverage obviously!
I don't know whether his small company can afford a nationwide advertising campaign or not. But surely this is the sort of story that tabloids love - small business versus bureaucracy. Time to escalate it methinks. All the publicity Laverstoke could wish for. If he is forced to rebrand then some image that takes the mickey out of the Portman Group would seem to be in order. Followed by more media coverage obviously! Buster Preciation
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Hector2004 says...

The more these jobsworths draw attention to themselves, the more people will view them as an absolutely unnecessary and valueless encumbrance. It’s time people stood up in support of people like Jody.
The more these jobsworths draw attention to themselves, the more people will view them as an absolutely unnecessary and valueless encumbrance. It’s time people stood up in support of people like Jody. Hector2004
  • Score: 0

1:36am Sun 18 Nov 12

BugBear says...

If children buy this product and are seen out of their minds intoxicated and consigned to a lifetime of hopelessness, there can only be one party to blame and its not Jody Scheckter. Its the people so immoral as to sell it to them. The mind boggles at the stupidity of the control freaks who like nothing better than to interfere.
If children buy this product and are seen out of their minds intoxicated and consigned to a lifetime of hopelessness, there can only be one party to blame and its not Jody Scheckter. Its the people so immoral as to sell it to them. The mind boggles at the stupidity of the control freaks who like nothing better than to interfere. BugBear
  • Score: 0

10:10am Sun 18 Nov 12

Rocket123 says...

Jody should find a look-alike man, dress him exactly like the drawing and put him on the label.

He wont need to relaunch the product and the resulting press reviews will mean he doesn't have to spend money on advertising.

Meanwhile the Portman Group needs to sack someone responsible for this stupid decision.
Jody should find a look-alike man, dress him exactly like the drawing and put him on the label. He wont need to relaunch the product and the resulting press reviews will mean he doesn't have to spend money on advertising. Meanwhile the Portman Group needs to sack someone responsible for this stupid decision. Rocket123
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Sun 18 Nov 12

jonone says...

It's pretty obvious, Laverstoke beer is a far easier target than, say, manufacturers of White Lightning and other high strength drink than teens etc target on a regular basis. Gives Portman the smug sense of a job well done when the reality is that they have done sweet FA!
It's pretty obvious, Laverstoke beer is a far easier target than, say, manufacturers of White Lightning and other high strength drink than teens etc target on a regular basis. Gives Portman the smug sense of a job well done when the reality is that they have done sweet FA! jonone
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Sun 18 Nov 12

jonone says...

Hadn't realised White Lightning is no longer made. Have written to Portman Group to request explaination of how a child might come to see and desire the product in a way that is not the responsiblity of the retailer or parent. Don't await an intelligent response!
Hadn't realised White Lightning is no longer made. Have written to Portman Group to request explaination of how a child might come to see and desire the product in a way that is not the responsiblity of the retailer or parent. Don't await an intelligent response! jonone
  • Score: 0

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