Alcoholic Pepsi anyone? Carlsberg Sweden’s Lidl problem…

Red faces all round: Carlsberg Sweden inadvertently launched a new Pepsi MAX product line (Scott Swigart/Flickr)

Carlsberg Sweden has launched an investigation after accidentally sending Pepsi MAX cans filled with a citrus-based alcopop to retail customer Lidl.

The brewer licenses the brand in Sweden and fills cans here; it announced last Tuesday (March 25) that it was recalling Pepsi MAX 330ml cans with an expiry date of August 4 2014.

In what is shaping up to be one of most embarrassing recalls of 2014, Carlsberg said the cans had erroneously been filled with Xide Citrus Fizz (see below), a lemon and grapefruit flavored RTD with 4.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Full internal investigation underway

We asked Carlsberg how the mistake had been made and how the company had been alerted to the fact it was a problem? By Lidl, consumers or internal checks?

Clearly, we noted, the mistake was worrying given that PepsiCo-owned brand Pepsi MAX is a popular brand with children. Had this kind of thing happened before in Carlsberg’s system?

The company’s Swedish head of communications in Sweden, Henric Byström told today:  “Carlsberg Sweden takes this incident very seriously and we are in the process of a full internal investigation.

“Before the investigation is done we cannot disclose that much about the root cause,” he added.

Scramble to trace rogue packs

Carlsberg has also apologized to Swedish consumer for “the inconvenience and discomfort this may have caused

Byström explained that last week’s announcement mentioned that a small quantity of Pepsi MAX in 330ml cans was delivered to the Lidl stores in Southern Sweden.

At that stage we communicated that the delivered amount to Lidl was 1,872 Pepsi Max 33 cl cans in 78 parcels, which had been filled with Xide Citrus Fizz with an alcohol content of 4.5%,” he said.

“At this stage we have together with Lidl identified 71 parcels, and we are still working hard to identify the last parcels,” Byström added.

'There's something wrong with this Pepsi!' Consumer tells Lidl

Carlsberg told Swedish consumers that it was easy to spot the affected cans given that the incorrectly filled cans contain a light liquid, while Pepsi MAX (clearly) is dark.

A Lidl Sweden spokeswoman told this website that a customer alerted the retailer to the issue. "They told us - something is wrong with this Pepsi," she said.

Lidl passed on the news to Carlsberg. "We dealt with the problem quite well and have had close contact with Carlsberg," the spokeswoman said.

"Clearly we don't want something like this to happen again," she added, noting that she believed the affected batch had been sold at between five to 10 stores in Southern Sweden.

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