Here’s how Brutal Fruit is rebranding to keep the word 'fruit', while admitting it is an ale

Business Insider SA
Brutal Fruit
'Fruit infused ale'
  • Brutal Fruit has reintroduced some of its flavours as "fruit infused ales" after a court instructed it to stop calling them alcoholic fruit drinks.
  • SAB says the beverage cannot be described as a beer given its ingredients and production processes.
  • The maize-based alcoholic drink is an infusion of sparkling water, flavourings, and fruit concentrate, the company says.
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The makers of Brutal Fruit has managed to admit some its flavours are ales while still hanging on to "fruit" in the description – part of the phrase that saw it dragged to court by a competitor.

South African Breweries has insisted that Brutal Fruit flavours that are maize based can not be described as a beer, even though an ale is a type of beer.

It has now rolled out the phrase "fruit infused ale", with the description of one Brutal Fruit variant as "a sweet and fruity infusion of wild strawberry and crisp apple flavouring with hints of floral botanicals and cotton candy".

SAB’s sparkling Strawberry Rouge and Ruby Apple Spritzers became the centre of a dispute launched by rival Distell, initially with SA's advertising regulator. Distell then went to court in an action that forced SAB to stop describing the line as an alcoholic fruit blend.

Distell had argued that by virtue of its ingredients and production process, the drink is a flavoured beer or ale and that it had no “alcoholic fruit beverage” made from the alcoholic fermentation of fruit juice.

SAB said it had been in consultation with the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development in the process of changing the descriptor of it Brutal Fruit spritzer range to help it better align with naming convention regulations.

Brutal Fruit spokesperson, Colleen Duvenage, said: “We are taking this opportunity to change our description of the drink on our refreshed packaging because we embrace and adore who we are and what we stand for as a brand, and now all our drinkers can embrace that even more clearly”.

Head of legal at Distell, Wessel de Wet said the company is satisfied with the rebranded packaging and the use of the word "ale", which now "complies with the law".

(Compiled by Ntando Thukwana)

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