Gordon Ramsay gin ad banned over health claims

Advertisements for Chef Gordon Ramsay’s gin have been banned for promoting the nutritional benefits of the spirit’s honeyberry ingredient.

Instagram and Facebook posts for Ramsay’s Gin, seen in March, said the honeyberries that made up the “botanical base” were grown in fields a few miles from Eden Mill distillery near St Andrews in Scotland.

The ads read: “Here the farmer follows a philosophy of natural growth, meaning the Honeyberries retain the rich flavors and micronutrients that come from the beautiful terroir of Scotland.

“With more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges and a taste like a mixture of blueberry, plum and grape, these are arguably the best honeyberries in the world.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) disputed whether the honeyberry claims were allowed for alcoholic beverages. Eden Mill Distillery, trading as Ramsay’s Gin, said the ads had only been posted once, had been removed and would not be used again in any form or through any channel.

The company said it had not previously distilled honeyberries and, excited by the opportunity to partner with Ramsay, had failed to conduct its usual due diligence. It said the company’s owners, marketing team and main distiller had all been made aware of the complaint and had given assurances that it would not happen again.

The ASA noted that the only permitted nutrition claims related to alcohol were “little alcohol,” “less alcohol,” and “less energy.”

The ASA said, “While we welcomed the action Ramsay’s Gin had taken to retract the ads, as the claims ‘retain … micronutrients’ and ‘more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges’ claims that were not allowed for alcoholic beverages, we concluded that the ads violated the Code.”

The regulator ruled that the ads should not reappear in the form complained of, adding: “We have told Eden Mill Distillery, trading as Ramsay’s Gin, not to make any unauthorized nutritional claims about alcoholic beverages.”

A spokesperson for Eden Mill said: “We have apologized to the ASA and take full responsibility. The content was posted to our Instagram and Facebook and was immediately removed upon being raised by the ASA.”

Honeyberries are the fruit of the honeysuckle Lonicera caerulea, also known as blue honeysuckle or edible honeysuckle. The RHS describes the fruit as similar in taste and appearance to blueberries, advising that they can be eaten raw or used in jams and jellies. Like blueberries, they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C.