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Laverstoke beer label causes legal battle

Ex-F1 World Champion Jody Scheckter is pursuing legal action after a watchdog ruled beer sold at his farm broke rules on appealing to children.

Labels on bottles of organic ale, made at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, feature farmer "Mr Laverstoke".

The logo of "Mr Laverstoke" was designed by Mr Scheckter's son

The Portman Group advised shops to stop selling the product from 7 January, but that deadline has been extended indefinitely after Mr Scheckter started legal action, which has so far included a failed bid for a judicial review.

Mr Scheckter said he thought The Portman Group were being "arrogant" and "unreasonable" and if he thought the labelling was going to encourage children to drink his ale and lager he would stop selling it immediately.  He added he didn't see any reason to change his label and he would fight to the end.

Mr Scheckter, 62, who was crowned Formula 1 World Champion in 1979, said more than 170,000 bottles of his ale and lager have been sold without complaint since 2007, with many retailers now stocking the product.

He said the financial implications for his small company, based near Basingstoke, to change the product would be huge.

The farm uses the logo on its range of products, including apple juice.

The Portman Group investigated the product after receiving one complaint over the "childish" design.

The Group promotes responsibility within the alcohol sector and its findings, although not legally binding, carry weight within the industry.   The Portman Group have said they would prefer that Laverstoke work with them to redesign the label rather than pursuing the case through the Courts.