Norwich bar fined over ‘pouring over’ Jägermeister

JagermeisterThe former operators of a bar in Norwich have been fined more than £13,000 after being found guilty of wrongly claiming it was serving Jägermeister when it was another product.

Norfolk Trading Standards won the “pouring over” case against Deli Delicious, the former operator of New York New York bar in the city centre. Norwich magistrates fined the company more than £13,000 plus costs of over £3,000.

It was found guilty of deceiving the public and for misusing Jägermeister trademarks on its promotional material in outlet. Deli Delicious is no longer trading, but New York New York in Prince of Wales Road continues under new ownership, serving Jägerbombs with genuine Jägermeister.

The case highlights the potentially severe consequences to licensees involved in either “pouring over” or “passing off” – the act of serving products different to those asked for by the consumer without notifying them.

The bar’s owners blamed bar staff but were found guilty of two charges: 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.

Basic consumer rights stipulate that customers should not be misled when purchasing products that they ask for. If ordering a premium spirit or specific brand, they expect to be served with the premium product rather than an imitation or cheaper version.

Cellar Trends, the distributor of Jägermeister in the UK, has been working with Trading Standards throughout the country to educate outlets about their responsibilities and to ensure they are aware of the legalities and requirements when it comes to consumer rights.

The Norwich prosecution was the result of action first taken in late December 2011 and the successful outcome was in part due to Cellar Trends and brand owner Mast-Jägermeister SE being able to trace lot numbers of bottles and prove that the batch concerned was of standard strength.

In the UK, Mast-Jägermeister SE has trademarked and owns the intellectual property of the words “Jägermeister”, “Jägerbomb” and “J-Bomb” so any product sold under these names must be genuinely Jägermeister. It covers menus, promotional flyers, point-of-sale materials and notices advertising these products.

Cellar Trends managing director Martin Watts said: “Passing off and pouring over one product for another is a growing concern that not only impacts manufacturers but also damages consumer confidence in the trade.

“We are actively working with all of the Trading Standards offices throughout the country to help bring this issue to the attention of key stakeholders and highlight the dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping within the law.

“While the majority of licensees are responsible business owners, this case demonstrates that pouring over and passing off is being taken seriously by both the authorities and manufacturers to tackle this head on and help eradicate the problem.

“Ultimately, licensees should be thinking whether the risk is worth a £16,000 fine if caught in the act.”

Over the next 12 months, Cellar Trends in collaboration with regional Trading Standards offices will be writing to and visiting key outlets to remind and educate licensees about their responsibility in this area.

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