Advertising of non-alcoholic beer does not violate the Alcohol Control Law in Lithuania
The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court has just ruled today that the advertising of non-alcoholic beer cannot be restricted according to the absolute ban on alcohol advertising in the case where the advertising of non-alcoholic beers Utena and Kronenbourg was evaluated.
The Ellex client, Švyturys-Utenos alus, was represented by the firm’s associate Marijus Dingilevskis, associate partner dr. Ąžuolas Čekanavičius and junior associate Vilius Norvaišas.
In the summer of 2021, the court ruled otherwise stating that so-called “Čepkeliai non-alcoholic non-bitter” violates the absolute ban on alcohol advertising because it is non-existent and unknown to an average consumer.
The current case of non-alcoholic beer was initiated in the context of the absolute ban on alcohol advertising as well. However, the court ruled that non-alcoholic beer is a non-alcoholic beverage that is actually sold by the applicant, so the applicant does not mislead the public about selling non-alcoholic beverages. Moreover, the claims of the supervising authority that non-alcoholic beer is associated with alcoholic beer are hypothetical and were evaluated critically by the court. The court emphasized that the supervising authority had misapplied the standard of an average consumer by assigning it a lower-than-average capacity when assessing objective advertising of non-alcoholic beer.
What could be the conclusions after the latter decision of the court? Advertising of a non-alcoholic beverage in Lithuania is permitted if it is sufficiently identifiable to the public, i.e., if it includes an indication of NON-ALCOHOLIC. Even the visual similarity between an alcoholic beverage and a non-alcoholic beverage, where the non-alcoholic beverage is marketed and known to consumers, should not be considered to violate the absolute ban on alcohol advertising.