Ministers said they would keep the case for a ban "under review" as they published a strategy to combat Britain’s binge-drinking culture.
The Home Office document noted that Norway had banned all alcohol ads and France had outlawed TV commercials. "There is known to be a link between advertising and people’s consumption, particularly those under the age of 18," it said. "So far, we have not seen evidence demonstrating that a ban is a proportionate response, but we are determined to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol advertising."
Ministers are worried that, while the code of practice says young people should not be targeted, large numbers of under-18s still see alcohol ads.
A Government source added: "No options are being ruled out. We will monitor the drinks industry’s response to what we have said."
The Advertising Association said: "We welcome the alcohol strategy’s assessment that there is no evidence to justify a ban on alcohol advertising. We hope that this evidence-based approach is maintained and will continue to work with the Government to ensure that, as advertising techniques evolve, alcohol continues to be advertised responsibly."