Many non-alcoholic brands name their products as non-alcoholic; such as gin, rum, tequila etc. Many in the alcoholic industry thinks this labelling confuses consumers as well as creates uncertainty about the claims of what is and isn’t a drink. One of the main types of alcohol in the middle of this controversy is Gin. Gin is one of the most popular influences for the low and non alcoholic category. We have reviewed many ‘Gin’ equivalents (or alternatives) and the market for this type of drink seems to be growing. With supermarkets creating their own versions like M&S 0% Botanical and even the larger corporations trying to capitalise on the demand - Gordon’s creating their own 0% offering.

The Gin Guild, have spearheaded the clamp down on brands passing off as a ‘Gin’. Under EU and UK law and, amongst other requirements, a product labelled ‘Gin’ must be not less than 37.5% ABV. This suggests that any non alcoholic brand that labels their product ‘Gin’ are not law abiding. Nicholas Cook, director of the Gin Guild, said: “There is nothing wrong with making or selling non-gin products, but the gin industry cannot permit brands freeloading on the success of the category. They must market themselves honestly and ensure they do not deliberately or inadvertently mislead consumers.”

This has lead to many brands who were marketed as ‘Gin’ to rebrand and refine their messaging/packaging to ensure they abide my the regulations. One of the brands required to change was The Clean Co, founded by Matthew Spencer (of Made in Chelsea fame). His initial range included drinks such as CleanGin and CleanRum, both imitating the alcoholic spirits but with an ABV of 1.2% which makes both fall foul of the regulations. Although the word ‘Gin’ and ‘Rum’ are still visible on their website they have changed the product names to CleanG and CleanR respectively.

For further reading about guidance on labelling and naming drinks of the botanical nature, read the report from the Gin Guild here.