Jupiler Blue beer banned

A court has ordered AB InBev to withdraw the low alcohol lager Jupiler Blue from sale. The judge sided with rival Alken-Maes in a dispute about colour.

Alken-Maes, a subsidiary of Holland's Heineken, insisted that the use of blue cans would confuse the consumer because Jupiler Blue too closely resembled the packaging used by Alken-Maes for its regular lager. In 2006 Alken-Maes had the blue of its lager cans registered. Alken-Maes's blue hardly differs from the colour now used by Jupiler Blue.

Until now AB InBev refused to do anything to end the confusion. A Belgian judge has now given the brewer a month to withdraw its Jupiler Blue can. The brewer will have to pay a fine for any violations after that.

Jupiler Blue is a low alcohol lager targeting beer drinkers in hot summery weather.

The court's decision is bad news for AB InBev that now faces the cost of taking its product off supermarket shelves. All investments in promoting the new brand have been wasted and new packaging will now have to be launched. AB InBev is appealing the court's decision.