Portman Panel recommends second packaging revamp for Tiny Rebel's Cwtch

Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch has faced the Portman Group for the second time in two years, resulting in the producer being asked to make further amends to the can’s design to prevent it from appealing to under-18s.

The most recent complaint about Cwtch came from a member of the public who expressed concern that the product looked like a fizzy energy drink, and could therefore appeal to teenagers.

The Panel decided that the alcoholic nature of the drink was communicated clearly on the packaging but it did rule that the packaging could have a particular appeal to under 18s., and so it upheld the complaint under this part of the code.

The Panel said it was concerned about “the combination of a cartoon teddy bear on the front of the can, the use of a bubble font for the product name and the use of bright primary colours on the packaging”, which it said “could be problematic when considered together”.

Tiny Rebel expressed surprise that the Portman Group had received a complaint about the canned version of Cwtch. It said that, following a previous complaint, it had fully rebranded the product and did so in consultation with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service.

It also said that Cwtch, as one of the first three beers it ever brewed, was one of its core beers and its most well-known brands. It said Cwtch had been available since mid-2012 in cask and keg, bottle since 2014 and cans from February 2017. It was awarded Supreme Champion Beer of Britain in 2015, which the company said led to national press coverage and widespread distribution.

Cwtch has been Tiny Rebel’s best-selling beer for the past two years, accounting for almost 30% of its total output.

Tiny Rebel also said: “Canned beer takes up a large proportion of shelf space in any major supermarket, and so the complainant should not be surprised to find beer in this format featuring colourful illustration.”

The company said the bear on the packaging was not an image of a children’s teddy bear, and to describe it as such was “inaccurate”.

The criticism of the bear is of particular concern to Tiny Rebel, the company said, because it was been a trademarked logo of the brand since inception. It said it has been trading for seven years and the bear logo is synonymous with the brand.

It also said the Panel’s reference to the “bubble font” was not a childlike font, and was instead consistent with the graffiti style.

The Panel said it recognised that the producer had sought to follow most of the advice given in relation to Cwtch but expressed regret that it had not chosen to remove the bear from the front of the can. It recognises the significance of this as part of the corporate logo, but felt it could have particular appeal to under-18s.

It said it was glad to see the producer had made changes “such as removing the spray cans and graffiti and enhancing the visibility of the abv, to improve the design”, and it acknowledged the company’s lengthy response to the provisional decision., however it has upheld the complaint under code rule 3.2.

Tiny Rebel has not confirmed its next course of action regarding this issue.