The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has reversed an earlier decision upholding two complaints alleging that Heineken UK Ltd.’s print and TV advertisements gave the impression that its Kronenbourg 1664 beer was brewed in France and made primarily from French hops, despite text disclaimers stating that the product was “Brewed in the UK.” According to ASA, Heineken argued that Kronenbourg 1664 “could correctly and reasonably be described as a ‘French beer’ because of its heritage, the origin of its recipe and the use of the Strisselspalt hop, as well as its ownership and the yeast type used.” In particular, the company noted that the aromatic Strisselspalt hop— though not the sole hop used in the beer—was the key ingredient in creating the beer’s final character and taste, attributes that could not be captured “from a simple calculation of the proportion in which [the Strisselspalt hop] featured in the recipe.”

In its revised assessment, ASA acknowledged these arguments and dismissed the complaints against the print and TV advertisements. In both cases, the authority found that the ads in question focused more on the unique character of the Strisselspalt hop than the brewing process itself. “Because we were satisfied that consumers would understand the association with France in the context of one of the ingredients used rather than the location of production, and because the [TV] ad contained clarification that the beer was brewed in the UK, we concluded that the [TV] ad was not misleading,” states ASA. “[B]ecause we were satisfied that the Strisselpalt hops used in Kronenbourg 1664 were sourced from Alsace, France, we concluded that the [print] ad was not misleading.”