Cider maker fuming after his drink is banned for being ‘too sexual’
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A cider maker has been left furious after one of his drinks was banned by the UK's alcohol regulator for being 'too sexual'.
The brewery has a wide range of alcohol for sale including the 5.5 percent Swallow's Nest, the 6.2 percent Storm Damage and the eight percent Tanker Slapper.
If those don't tickle your fancy you could go for the Moustache Mango cider, a Shaky Todd or quaff something called the Pink Fluffer.
However, it's Robbie's four percent cherry-flavoured cider, Unshaven Maiden, which has been slapped with a ban for having overt 'sexual content'.
The bottle Unshaven Maiden comes in features an image of a bare-chested mermaid figurehead on a ship, though the mermaid's nipples are covered up by long locks of red hair flowing from their scalp and chin.
Robbie says the regulatory body the Portman Group has been trying to get him to drop his Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) award winning cider for a few years now, claiming that his troubles started after a columnist for The Guardian took offence at the drink while holidaying in Cornwall and wrote about it.
The cider maker has slammed the ban of his booze with the picture of the bare-chested and bearded mermaid as 'ridiculous' and 'shocking'.
He said: "I'm a dad of an 11-year-old and five-year-old girls. I'm a family man. The complaint is ridiculous. What the Portman Group have written back to us is quite shocking.
"They're implying that our product and our brewery support people looking to sleep with underage girls. It's utterly disgraceful.
"This is a dark place. It's something we had not even thought of when we came up with the name. Who thinks that? It just reflects back on them. I told them as much."
The Portman Group has said that the bottle's picture of a half-naked woman and the tagline 'search for the cherry'd treasure' was too sexual.
The decision to impose a ban was made following a complaint from another craft cider maker in November 2022 which claimed Unshaven Maiden breached the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.
The code says that drinks, their packaging and promotional materials 'should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with sexual activity or sexual success'.
In a letter from the regulatory group to Robbie which has been seen by Cornwall Live, they warn that the word 'maiden' in the cider's title 'could relate to a virgin or an unmarried young woman'.
They also said the 'search for the cherry'd treasure' slogan could be seen as a reference to taking a young woman's virginity.
Robbie has argued that the picture of the bearded mermaid is a pun based off his brewery's name, while the cherry pun is a reference to the cider's flavour.