Jody Scheckter hits out at alcohol watchdog

Jody Scheckter hits out at alcohol watchdog

Jody Scheckter.

The beer bottle that has caused the former Formula 1 ace problems.

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

FORMER Formula 1 racing champion Jody Scheckter has hit out at an alcohol watchdog after it wrote to independent retailers which continue to stock his beer.

Mr Scheckter has been involved in a legal battle with Portman Group because of the labelling on his lager and ale. The group responded to a single complaint that the labels on the bottles, which feature ‘Mr Laverstoke’ drawn by Mr Scheckter’s son when he was young, could appeal to children.

The watchdog issued a bulletin to retailers, asking them not to stock the Laverstoke Park Farm ale and lager in its current packaging, from May 17 last year.

Mr Scheckter had protested about the original bulletin issued in December 2012, but lost a High Court battle to have it removed.

Having spent £30,000 on legal fees, Mr Scheckter said last year that he had given up the fight, and predicted the decision would “probably put our beer out of business.”

Retailers which are signatories of Portman Group’s code were forced to cease selling Laverstoke’s beer last year, and this included Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

But Mr Scheckter is now criticising Portman Group again, after it sent what he describes as “threatening letters” to two small independent retailers, which are not under the authority of the body, to remove Laverstoke’s beer from their website, despite having sold it for years.

The letter, sent by Henry Ashworth, chief executive of Portman Group, said Portman Group was “disappointed” to see the drinks still being sold.

He added: “We need to ask for your assurance that the products will be withdrawn from the market and not be sold again until the producer has amended the packaging.”

Mr Scheckter said: “It is simply unbelievable to me that once again I find my business under this vindictive attack of the Portman Group. Not content with leading me to lose £230,000 from the de-listing in the multiples, and despite my attempts to work with the group, this unregulated body of ‘authority’ is now threatening the little business I have left for the farm’s beer.

“It is unjustifiable that this body, which has no legal standing, should threaten my business any further.”

A statement from Portman Group said: “We contact retailers who continue to stock products that have breached the code as part of our routine compliance monitoring.”

Comments (6)

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9:24pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Marina Morris says...

I share Mr S's frustration as I really enjoyed his lager when I could buy it from Sainsbury's. Who do these idiots think they are? No child is going to see the bottles in a supermarket (especially if they're on a high shelf!) nor be able to buy them as they're bound to be ID'd (!!!) and they're relatively expensive too!. The self-important Portman Group have made themselves look stupid but dug themselves into a hole and just keep digging but at no expense to themselves. I wonder if Mr S has considered taking it to the national press who like nothing better than to ridicule idiots like these.
I share Mr S's frustration as I really enjoyed his lager when I could buy it from Sainsbury's. Who do these idiots think they are? No child is going to see the bottles in a supermarket (especially if they're on a high shelf!) nor be able to buy them as they're bound to be ID'd (!!!) and they're relatively expensive too!. The self-important Portman Group have made themselves look stupid but dug themselves into a hole and just keep digging but at no expense to themselves. I wonder if Mr S has considered taking it to the national press who like nothing better than to ridicule idiots like these. Marina Morris
  • Score: 12

7:57pm Sat 1 Mar 14

jonone says...

More needs to be made of the fact that Portman Group is an organisation funded by the large, multi-national brewing companies. Whose interests do you think they will REALLY be serving?

If I make one complaint about Bacardi Breezers for being created to attract younger drinkers, will they been hounded off the shelves? No, because they are manufactured by one of Portman's funders.

Disgusting example of industry corruption.
More needs to be made of the fact that Portman Group is an organisation funded by the large, multi-national brewing companies. Whose interests do you think they will REALLY be serving? If I make one complaint about Bacardi Breezers for being created to attract younger drinkers, will they been hounded off the shelves? No, because they are manufactured by one of Portman's funders. Disgusting example of industry corruption. jonone
  • Score: 15

9:59am Mon 3 Mar 14

laurence86 says...

We will be known as the Compliance generation. This is fast becoming the word of choice to bully and control smaller companies. Corporations and governments are becoming obsessed with it, and the truth is most people don’t actually know what it means and are overly scared of it. An advisory body can only advise, no matter how official looking they make their letters look or their choice of words they still have no legal standing to tell people what to do.

Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty. I should think that a child would be more tempted by the bright colour liquids and fruit logos in the alco-pop/cocktail sections. These are far more akin to the drinks in the children’s section, rather than a brown bottle in the dusty ale section. If the child is of an age that they don’t know that they are in the beer section as opposed to the juice section I am hoping that they will not be in the shop unsupervised.
We will be known as the Compliance generation. This is fast becoming the word of choice to bully and control smaller companies. Corporations and governments are becoming obsessed with it, and the truth is most people don’t actually know what it means and are overly scared of it. An advisory body can only advise, no matter how official looking they make their letters look or their choice of words they still have no legal standing to tell people what to do. Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty. I should think that a child would be more tempted by the bright colour liquids and fruit logos in the alco-pop/cocktail sections. These are far more akin to the drinks in the children’s section, rather than a brown bottle in the dusty ale section. If the child is of an age that they don’t know that they are in the beer section as opposed to the juice section I am hoping that they will not be in the shop unsupervised. laurence86
  • Score: 10

2:04pm Mon 3 Mar 14

jonone says...

"Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty"

Odd comment. I prefer what is in the bottle as opposed to what is on the label, plus these labels are merely an aligned brand so all Laverstocke products have the same branding/imagery and have done for long before Portman Group decided to sharpen their claws.
"Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty" Odd comment. I prefer what is in the bottle as opposed to what is on the label, plus these labels are merely an aligned brand so all Laverstocke products have the same branding/imagery and have done for long before Portman Group decided to sharpen their claws. jonone
  • Score: 1

4:00pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Folkestone Saint says...

I think JS should get a petition raised that can then be forwarded to Downing street, I have been sent them to vote for on-line before, and if they get enough votes they have to be heard in the house of commons. It would be interesting to know if this is a trade mark as this surley has some legal backing added to it.
I think JS should get a petition raised that can then be forwarded to Downing street, I have been sent them to vote for on-line before, and if they get enough votes they have to be heard in the house of commons. It would be interesting to know if this is a trade mark as this surley has some legal backing added to it. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: -1

10:15am Wed 5 Mar 14

laurence86 says...

jonone wrote:
"Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty" Odd comment. I prefer what is in the bottle as opposed to what is on the label, plus these labels are merely an aligned brand so all Laverstocke products have the same branding/imagery and have done for long before Portman Group decided to sharpen their claws.
I also prefer the contents of the bottle rather than the label. My favourite local tipple is the hog back’s Hop Garden Gold, which I pick up from the brewery in a plastic bottle which only carry’s a printed the name of the brewery and a stamped name of the brew. I am however self aware enough to know that when I am presented with a wall of unknown ales I will tend towards labels that imply quality. There are lots of factors such as the paper used, font, and colour used that rightly or wrongly affect your decision. A historic font, high quality paper and well chosen colour scheme all can increase the buyer’s perception of the products history and establishment, hence why I used the word “implies”. The final decision on the quality comes after the tasting. A glossy label with a bright and crudely drawn logo served in a 330ml lager bottle doesn’t suggest a great deal of brewing history and if I was just grabbing some ale it would probably remain on the shelf. Reading the reviews on this ale it would possible be a good decision as this appears to be a light, mild ale that is a good introduction to ales for someone who has not drunk ales before.
[quote][p][bold]jonone[/bold] wrote: "Personally the label is not to my taste, as an ale fan I tend more towards labels that imply quality over novelty" Odd comment. I prefer what is in the bottle as opposed to what is on the label, plus these labels are merely an aligned brand so all Laverstocke products have the same branding/imagery and have done for long before Portman Group decided to sharpen their claws.[/p][/quote]I also prefer the contents of the bottle rather than the label. My favourite local tipple is the hog back’s Hop Garden Gold, which I pick up from the brewery in a plastic bottle which only carry’s a printed the name of the brewery and a stamped name of the brew. I am however self aware enough to know that when I am presented with a wall of unknown ales I will tend towards labels that imply quality. There are lots of factors such as the paper used, font, and colour used that rightly or wrongly affect your decision. A historic font, high quality paper and well chosen colour scheme all can increase the buyer’s perception of the products history and establishment, hence why I used the word “implies”. The final decision on the quality comes after the tasting. A glossy label with a bright and crudely drawn logo served in a 330ml lager bottle doesn’t suggest a great deal of brewing history and if I was just grabbing some ale it would probably remain on the shelf. Reading the reviews on this ale it would possible be a good decision as this appears to be a light, mild ale that is a good introduction to ales for someone who has not drunk ales before. laurence86
  • Score: 0

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