Craft beer is sexist? Get me a drink…

Guy Birchall

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Topics Free Speech

An article on Slate yesterday claimed that craft brewing has a sexism problem. Apparently, craft-beer names, labels and marketing campaigns are becoming notorious for their ‘gross puns and derogatory illustrations’, which makes ‘a lot of craft-beer marketing astonishingly sexist’. If this is genuinely something that concerns the writer, Will Gordon, I think we can all agree that the man could probably do with a pint.

The craft-beer industry, both in the UK and the US, is an astonishing success story. During the global financial crisis, a time in which many industries, especially smaller, independent companies, were facing serious hardship, the craft-brewing industry boomed. Suddenly, in pubs and bars from Brooklyn to the East End, new and interesting lagers, ales and stouts, from all over the world, started appearing.

The use of far superior ingredients in the beers and the new ‘craft’ techniques employed by these new kids on the block were integral to the craft-beer industry’s success. But in order to get noticed in an industry dominated by giants like Coors, Budweiser and Heineken, the brewers had to be innovative with their marketing.

Who can honestly say they would rather walk up to the bar and order a Carling over a refreshing pint of Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA? Or maybe you’d prefer a Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout? Bars and pubs are supposed to be places people go to relax, have a drink and have a laugh; these amusingly named beers can help with that.

But apparently some people are so easily offended that a bit of bawdy beer marketing is simply beyond the pale.

Gordon’s piece expresses shock at a stout called ‘Happy Ending’, which is only offensive if you receive one after a massage. Meanwhile, other beers that are singled out for criticism include Double D IPA, Thong Remover Belgian Tripel, and Vanilla Bitch Slap.

All these brewers are doing is continuing a long tradition of amusingly named beers that used to be very common. Sure, these beers might sound a little more risque than Bishop’s Finger or Old Peculiar, but they are in the same bracket and serve the same purpose – they’re memorable and amusing. Rather than obsessing over the potential offence that a beer label might cause, Gordon should sit back with a couple of Raging Bitches and try to remember where he left his sense of humour.

Guy Birchall is a spiked intern.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

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Topics Free Speech

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