Juicebox Citrus IPA could ‘appeal to children’, says watchdog

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Juicebox Citrus IPA could ‘appeal to children’, says watchdog

Related tags Alcohol craft beers

Fourpure Brewing Company has been told to redesign its Juicebox Citrus IPA can after the UK’s alcohol industry regulator deemed it could appeal to children.

The Portman Group’s panel said the stylised heap of oranges – including one depicted as a sun – alongside the name Juicebox could be easily associated with a children’s drink and therefore have particular appeal to children.

Art deco vs cartoon imagery

London craft brewer Fourpure was founded in 2013 and bought by Australian-headquartered Lion (a Kirin subsidiary) in 2018. Juicebox has been on the market since March 2016 and is a consistent top seller for the brewery.

Fourpure Brewing Company said it had paid attention to ensure the 5.9% ABV product was clearly identified as a beer: such as through the use of the name ‘citrus IPA’ in bold colour; beer imagery such as hops and grains; references to brewing; and responsible drinking messaging.

It also highlighted that a number of craft beer brands use distinctive packaging such as 330ml cans and graphics reminiscent of graphic novel art: making a distinction between mature, stylised imagery reminiscent of art deco design to signal a product that is a appropriate for adults; and, in contrast, cartoon-like imagery for children. 

The company said the design used on Juicebox was stylised imagery with a simplicity and flowing lines, similar to those associated with art deco, and they had deliberately interspersed the orange imagery with imagery of hops to remind consumers the product was an orange flavoured beer that was alcoholic.

It added that the name ‘Juicebox’ was intended to be humorous because the beer is packaged in a can, not a box; and the name was chosen to emphasise citrus flavours (Fourpure pointed out there are other craft beers and alcoholic drinks that reference juice in their names).

Portman Group: 'Juicebox' name not problematic - but makes distinction harder

The Portman Group was asked to consider Juicebox Citrus IPA on two counts: whether the alcoholic nature of the drink was communicated with absolute clarity; and whether the drink, its packaging or promotional activity could hold a particular appeal to under 18s.

The group’s independent complaint panel did not believe that Juicebox Citrus IPA failed to communicate its alcoholic nature. It did, however, find that the product could appeal to under-18s.

“The Panel considered that “Juicebox” was suggestive of the fruit juice cartons that were commonly given to children in lunch​ boxes," said the decision published by The Portman Group. 

"It considered that the name was not inherently problematic but that the allusion to a product often associated with children meant the packaging would have to work harder than other products to avoid having particular appeal to under-18s. 

“The Panel noted the colour scheme was muted and considered that no single element of the design had a particular appeal to children when seen in isolation.  It considered, however, that the combination of “Juicebox” together with the images of fruit and stylised sunshine imagery had a particular appeal to children. 

"The Panel was concerned that children might see the product in the fridge in their home and think it was a juice drink, and considered that the “Citrus IPA” description was not clear enough to dispel that impression to a child who would be unfamiliar with beer categories.” 

The Portman Group is the UK’s alcohol industry self-regulator: funded by eight member companies: Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; and Pernod Ricard UK.

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