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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boxer Lager Gets A Call From the AGCO

I had this written yesterday but for some reason it didn't post?? So, what's old today was new yesterday.

I am not a fan of their beer and I'm not a fan of their branding and marketing, but I'm standing in their corner today.

Boxer Lager, a beer from the Minhas Creek Craft Brewing Company (craft term used loosely) based out of Alberta, received a letter back in December from Ontario's Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO). The letter, as the Toronto Sun indicated, has to do with the name of their beer, Boxer, and a complaint the AGCO received from a member of the public (or from another major brewery) who thinks the name is using sports to promote their beer, something that is banned under Ontario liquor laws. Or is it?

I tried searching the Liquor Licence Act, but couldn't come up with anything that suggests using a 'sporting' term in the name of a product would be prohibited. I did however look under Section 87 of the Licences to Sell Liquor Regulation O.Reg 719 (Advertising Liquor and its Availability for Sale) and this is what it says:

87. (1) In this section,
“public service advertising” means any advertising carrying a strong message against irresponsible use of liquor where the message does not contain any direct or indirect endorsement of liquor, the brand name of liquor or of the consumption of liquor. O. Reg. 247/02, s. 27.

(2) Except for public service advertising, the holder of a licence to sell liquor may advertise or promote liquor or the availability of liquor only if the advertising,
(a) is consistent with the principle of depicting responsibility in use or service of liquor;
(b) promotes a general brand or type of liquor and not the consumption of liquor in general;
(c) does not imply that consumption of liquor is required in obtaining or enhancing,
(i) social, professional or personal success,
(ii) athletic prowess,
(iii) sexual prowess, opportunity or appeal,
(iv) enjoyment of any activity,
(v) fulfilment of any goal, or
(vi) resolution of social, physical or personal problems;
(d) does not appeal, either directly or indirectly, to persons under the legal drinking age or is not placed in media that are targeted specifically at people under that age;
(e) does not associate consumption of liquor with driving a motorized vehicle, or with any other activity that requires care and skill or has elements of physical danger;
(f) does not depict motorized vehicles in motion in advertising showing the consumption of liquor, unless the motorized vehicle is a form of public transportation;
(g) does not suggest any illegal sale, illegal purchase, illegal gift, illegal handling or illegal consumption of liquor; and
(h) is in compliance with guidelines related to advertising issued by the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming. O. Reg. 247/02, s. 27; O. Reg. 284/02, s. 3.

(3) When premises to which a licence applies are used as a setting for a film or television production, the licence holder may show the name of the establishment if the licence holder complies with the requirements set out in subsection (2). O. Reg. 247/02, s. 27.

Am I missing something here? I know the brewery (who just got into the province 3 months ago) uses a boxing commercial to advertise here in Ontario but how different is it then the commercial with four guys sitting around watching a hockey game getting beer out of a fridge with a curved hockey stick (Molson Canadian), or a spontaneous road hockey game that shuts down Bay Street (older Labatt Blue)? Maybe I am missing something in the Act and Regulations; maybe I didn't see the right section, but if I'm reading Section 87 correctly, Boxer Lager is not advertising athletic prowess or irresponsible use.

The poster (above) featuring cans of the Boxer Lager and an athletic looking female with boxing gear on does not, in my opinion anyway, suggest that you require alcohol to obtain or enhance athletic prowess as an AGCO spokesperson stated in an article yesterday. What if the poster featured an overweight male with a cigar in his mouth with boxing gear on. What would the AGCO have to say about that? Would anyone complain?

The beer is sold in cans at the lowest legal price, which tells you enough about the brewery and gives you a good indication about the quality of the beer, but this, in boxing terms, is a low-blow.


Alan said...

Good post Troy. The big boys have the money and therefore the control.

Anonymous said...

Before you rush defend the Minhas
Mountain Crest people. Look at this.

Troy Burtch said...

Anonymous - I hate anonymous commenters. Just leave your name dude.

Anyways, I'm in no way defending the brother and sister team of Minhas, I'm simply talking about the alcohol regulations in Ontario.

nataS said...

This beer is garbage. I tried one can then poured the rest down the drain. For the benefit of all humankind these two must stop making this swill and marketing it as beer.

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