A DISTILLERY has been forced to apologise after releasing a 75% proof vodka named after the deadly toxic nerve agent novichock.
The Bristol Dry Gin company came in for criticism online after unveiled the limited edition spirt in a post that described the new vodka as "no laughing matter".
One woman has already died after being exposed to the chemical late last month while another man is currently fighting for his life in hospital.
The distillery took to Facebook and Instagram just a day after the woman's death to promote the new spirit, writing:
"Our new limited edition vodka is out! Set at 75%, this smooth drinking spirit is no laughing matter.
"Available as a 35cl bottle, perfect for manbags and gym bottles, or as a pack of three 5cl minis, a great solution to body cavity searches. Get em from our web store or distillery."
Unfortunately, the campaign fell flat with the public, who slated the company for its "tasteless" marketing.
David Watson wrote: "The poor people that have suffered. The town that has suffered and its people. I can't believe you want to make money out of it. Please rename this into something appropriate."
David Gilroy, meanwhile, said: "Sorry, I think that is in very poor taste naming a gin after something that is still a very serious situation."
"I suggest you sack your marketing team," Rennie Howie added.
The Bristol Dry Gin has now ceased production of the vodka and apologised.
An official statement read: "Novichok Edition has been in development for some time, and was only named and released after the Skripals had recovered.
"It was intended to lighten the mood, not to cause offence, and reaction has been overwhelming positive. We sincerely apologise if any offence was caused, especially to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and understand that the timing of the release of this product may have lacked sensitivity.
"The Novichok Edition is a limited edition, which sold out within a hours of being released, and we currently have no plans to produce any more, despite the flood of enquiries.
"We appreciate the messages of support which we have received, especially those from the Salisbury community, but also regret any negative feeling generated in the wider community."
The controversy comes hot on the heels of another microbrewery who came under fire for a sexist marketing campaign around their latest range of beers.