The distributors of Jägermeister in the UK have stepped up their efforts to educate the licensed trade about falsely selling other products as the herbal liqueur brand.
Mast-Jaegermeister UK is tackling “passing off”, where bar staff serve a different brand to the one advertised or asked for, and “pouring over” where an imitation product is used in place of the genuine brand.
Working closely with the Trading Standards Institute, the Jägermeister sales force will educate outlets and their staff throughout the UK about their responsibilities and to ensure they are aware of the legalities and requirements when it comes to consumer rights.
Most licensed premises in the UK – around 99% – understand and abide by the law, with less than 1% engaging in the practices of passing off and pouring over, according to Mast-Jaegermeister UK.
In September, Mast-Jaegermeister sent cease-and-desist letters to identified repeat offenders warning them about their illegal practice. It also engaged with the owners and managers to ensure that they take action to rectify the situation without the need to resort to legal action. However any outlets found offending repeatedly will be followed up with appropriate action.
Passing off also relates to how a product is marketed, as well as how it is served. Across the EU including the UK, Mast-Jägermeister has trademarked and owns nearly 60 trademarks.
It includes intellectual property of the words “Jäger”, “Jäger Bomb” and “J-Bomb” so any product sold under these names must be genuine Jägermeister product at all times. This extends to menus, promotional flyers, other point-of-sale materials and notices advertising these products.
Guy Lawrence, chief executive of Mast-Jaegermeister UK, said: “Passing off and pouring over are illegal, unfair and unwise. We’re not after the ill-informed, but those outlets who wilfully flout the law should know we intend to stay on their case.
“A small but persistent minority are undermining the trust of the consumer in all of us. It impacts manufacturers and damages consumer confidence in the trade.
“People need to realise the penalties for passing off and pouring over can be severe, ranging from large fines to criminal charges in the most serious cases.”
In August last year, New York, New York bar in Norwich city centre was found guilty at Norwich Magistrates Court of pouring over after a successful case brought on by Trading Standards and Mast-Jägermeister SE.
The bar owners were fined more than £16,000 for deceiving the public and for misusing Jägermeister trademarks on their promotional material.
The bar owners tried to blame their bar staff but they were found guilty of two charges: of selling food not of the nature demanded by the purchaser, under the Food Safety Act, and engaging in commercial practice which was a misleading action containing false information, under trading regulations. The bar has since ceased trading.