Thursday 16 October 2008

Drinks watchdog "bonkers"

The Portman Group, who are funded by multi-national alcoholic drink producers and make up the industry guidlines for alcoholic drink sales, have finally gone bonkers with their attack on a beer named after a Viking King. Rather than go after a multi-national who funds them and makes a lager commonly known as "wife beater", the Portman Group have decided to attack an award-winning beer called Skull Splitter made by the Orkney brewery as the name "implied violence". I'm pretty sure that when some chav goes into the supermarket for his daily 10 cans of super strength lager at 20p a can or whatever the chain is flogging it out at this week, their choice of drink is going to depend on whether or not the beer is named after a Viking. Skull Splitter has be brewed for at least 17 years, as Brew Wales can remember buying bottles of it from the Beer Shop in Pitfield Street in London when he lived there. It was a fantastic beer then and has gone on to win many CAMRA awards since.
Where will this end? Brains SA is commonly known as "Skull Attack", so that obviously implies violence. Gwynt Y Ddraig cider produce a cider called "Barnstormer" which may well encourage pilots to engage in low-level flying!
Bent Bike Cider, made in Monmouthshire, well with a name like that it could be construed as encouraging people to ride bikes after drinking their cider.
And as for Toloja Cider with their Drunk Dewi - obviously encouraging Dragons who may be underage to drink.

Luckily in the midst of this rubbish being churned out by the Portman Group, Alistair Carmichael, the MP for Orkney and Shetland, has tabled a Commons motion calling for a complaint against Orkney Brewery's 8.5 per cent ABV Skull Splitter ale to be rejected.

EDM 2199
Carmichael, Alistair

That this House notes with amazement that the Portman Group is considering a complaint against the name of the Orkney Brewery's Skull Splitter beer, a complaint that claims that the name could imply violence and that its Viking branded bottles have an aggressive theme; recognises that the name would be inappropriate if it were applied to a low price high alcohol content drink aimed at young drinkers; considers that Skull Splitter is not such a drink, but is instead a high quality premium beer, not sold in supermarkets, a past Champion Winter Ale of Britain, which is targeted at and bought by discerning drinkers who appreciate its quality and who drink it responsibly; further recognises the beer is named after Thorfinn Hausakluif, the seventh Viking Earl of Orkney nicknamed skull splitter; believes that the name is an entirely appropriate name for a beer brewed in Orkney with its strong Viking heritage; further believes that to lose the use of the name would be a serious setback to the brewery, undoing years of good work building a market share for Skull Splitter among connoisseurs of good beer; and calls on the Portman Group to reject the complaint.

So well done then to Alistair Carmichael MP for supporting his local brewery and telling the Portman Group to finally get some common sense.

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