Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Low alcohol drinks are beverages that contain between 0.5% and 1.2% ABV (this does not include products that are 0.5% ABV exactly, or below 0.5%, which are considered zero/no alcohol).

Marketers are reminded that Section 18 applies in full to ads for low alcohol (0.5%-1.2% ABV) products.

Alcohol strength

Ads for alcoholic drinks may give factual information about the strength of the product, and in the case of low alcohol drinks, these may also be presented as preferable because of their low alcoholic strength.

See Alcohol: ABV Strength for more information on this.

Excessive consumption and unwise activities/locations

Marketers must still ensure that low alcohol drinks are not promoted in a way that encourages irresponsible or excessive consumption and ads should not depict activities that require complete sobriety. As above, the rules of Section 18 apply to low alcohol products in full.

See also Alcohol: Unwise or excessive consumption and Alcohol: Unwise locations and activities.

Health claims: “only XX calories”, zero sugar etc.

Rule 18.17 states:

Marketing communications may give factual information about product contents, including comparisons, but must not make any health, fitness or weight-control claims.

The only permitted nutrition claims are "low-alcohol", "reduced alcohol" and "reduced energy" and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer.

As stated above, "Low-alcohol”, “reduced alcohol” and “reduced energy” (and any claims likely to have the same meaning to a consumer) are the only permitted nutrition claims for alcoholic drinks.

Numerical statements of calorie or carbohydrate content should not be preceded by words such as “only”, as these are likely to be taken as making an unacceptable “low energy” claim.

Claims such as “reduced sugar”, “half sugar”, “zero sugar”, or “reduced/low carbs” are also not acceptable, since they are not included in the list of permitted nutrition claims in rule 18.17.

For more on this, see Alcohol: Health, diet and nutritional claims.

See also Alcohol: General, Alcohol: Featuring Under 25s and Alcohol: Handling and Serving. 

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