Objections to adverts for non-alcoholic drinks at sports events are 'unreasonable and strange', the Director of Drinks Ireland has said.
Since 2021, there has been a ban on alcohol advertising in a place where a sports match is taking place.
At the time, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the ban would “protect our children from exposure to alcohol marketing” and “limit the association of alcohol consumption with sporting activities”.
A number of companies now advertise their non-alcoholic products at sporting events instead and Sheila Gilheany of Alcohol Action Ireland told Newstalk Breakfast described it as “backdoor marketing”.
“[It is] the shared branding, the fact that the identical branding is being used with the non-alcoholic products and the alcoholic product with a very small zero,” she said.
“Your principal impression is seeing the brand.
“I think it’s no coincidence now that we’re seeing it on the pitch and that these regulations came into play [in 2021].”
It is, Drinks Ireland, believes an unfair analysis.
“I think the comments of Alcohol Action Ireland are unreasonable and strange actually,” CEO Cormac Healy said.
“These new non-alcohol products are a positive development - both in terms of the choice that’s now being offered to consumers and also the offering that’s made available.
“This is something that is consumer-led.
“There’s a demand for these products and producers, at the end of the day, need to be able to advertise them if we want to encourage consumers to drink these products.”
Mr Healy also said advertising rules are already “very stringent” and that demand for non-alcoholic drinks is surging.
In 2017, non-alcoholic beers had a 0.4% market share in Ireland and by 2021 it had more than tripled to 1.5%.
Main image: Alcohol free wine bottles in a supermarket. Picture by: Alamy.com