Epic Pub Company’s advert for a “barrow of booze” was deemed irresponsible for encouraging excessive drinking.
185 Watling Street, a pub and kitchen in Towcester, Northamptonshire, part of the Epic Pub group, featured a Christmas menu online offering a “barrow of booze” for £20 per person for a minimum of 15 people. The offer included two boxes of wine, 20 bottles of Corona or Peroni, and a bottle of gin, vodka and tequila each.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) described the ad as “irresponsible” and likely to encourage excessive drinking.
Epic Pub Company explained the drinks package was a pre-order only package designed for large parties, was only available to parties booking a meal in supervised private dining rooms, and consumption often spanned anything from three to five hours.
The amount of alcohol available for consumption for a group of 15 was approximately 12 units per person. The Office of National Statistics defines binge drinking as more than eight units in a single session for men, six for women. The UK chief medical officer (CMO) recommends men and women not to regularly drink more than 14 units per week, best spread evenly over three days or more.
The ASA considered readers would understand the offer consisted of a very large amount of alcohol, even for a group of 15 people, emphasised by the ‘barrow of booze’ reference, which did not specify the drinks offer was only intended to be served alongside a meal.
Considering this and in the context of the CMO’s advice, the ASA concluded the amount of alcohol available for consumption under the offer was, and would be understood to be, excessive, and ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form.
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