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Gun-shaped whisky faces ‘severe’ sanctions

Retailers have been asked to stop selling Cosa Nostra Scotch Whisky after it was deemed to be associated with “violent, aggressive, dangerous and illegal” behaviour.

Retailers have been asked to stop selling Cosa Nostra Scotch Whisky

Cosa Nostra Scotch Whisky is packaged in a gun-shaped bottle, designed to replicate a Thompson ‘Tommy’ gun.

The panel noted the design created a direct link between the spirit and a dangerous weapon.

A complaint against the product was upheld by the Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel, resulting in the most severe sanction due to the producer’s failure to comply, the watchdog body said.

‘Cosa Nostra’ is a ‘well-known’ organisation within the Italian mafia, the panel noted.

The panel said that with gun crime on the rise in the UK, the packaging was likely to cause ‘serious and widespread offence’ – especially in communities facing gun-crime problems.

Nicola Williams, chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, said: “In light of rising gun crime in the UK, it is deeply irresponsible of an alcohol producer to glamorise firearms and market a product in this form.

“There were multiple and clear signs this product was in direct breach of the code, and unfortunately follows a complaint for a similar product by the same producer, which the panel upheld in 2014.

“I hope Bartex Bartol takes note that such products are completely unacceptable.”

In April this year, the Portman Group upheld a complaint against Engine Organic Gin for claiming to have therapeutic qualities.

Meanwhile, in November last year, Mixpixie agreed to discontinue its Prescription Gin after a complaint was upheld over its medicine-inspired bottle.

Furthermore, in July 2022, vodka brand Jatt Life cancelled its sponsorship of The Cannon Run after a complaint was upheld over its failure to promote responsible drinking during the driving event.

Four in five complaints about alcoholic marketing and packaging in 2022 were concerned with their appeal to under-18s, a report by the Portman Group found.

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