Scottish brewer BrewDog has branded the Portman Group a “a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths” after it banned its Dead Pony Club packaging over its inappropriate association with “bravado and immoderate” consumption.
The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) deemed the packaging of the “lower-than-average” strength 3.8% Dead Pony Club pale ale to encourage “anti-social behaviour and rapid drinking”.
The irreverent brewery responded with a sarcastic “formal apology” to the Portman Group for “not giving a sh*t” about today’s ruling or “anything the Portman Group has to say”, and said it would be treating the ICP’s concerns with “callous indifference and nonchalance.”
James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog said: “Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants. Their raison d’être is to provide a diversion for the true evils of this industry, perpetrated by the gigantic faceless brands that pay their wages. Blinkered by this soulless mission, they treat beer drinkers like brain dead zombies and vilify creativity and competition. Therefore, we have never given a second thought to any of the grubby newspeak they disseminate periodically.”
“While the Portman Group lives out its days deliberating whether a joke on a bottle of beer is responsible or irresponsible use of humour, at BrewDog we will just get on with brewing awesome beer and treating our customers like adults. I’m sure that makes Henry Ashworth cry a salty tear into his shatterproof tankard of directors as he tries to enforce his futile and toothless little marketing code, but we couldn’t give a shit about that, either.”
“We sincerely hope that the sarcasm of this message fits the Portman Group criteria of responsible use of humour,” he added.”
The ICP, which reviewed the packaging as part of its 2012 Code Compliance Audit, said the packaging, which included phrases such as “rip it up down empty streets”, “drink fast, live fast” and “we believe faster is better”, could encourage consumers to drink the product rapidly.
It also said it placed “undue emphasis” on the strength and intoxicating effect of the alcohol linking it with bravado and immoderate consumption.
Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, which provides the secretariat for the Independent Complaints Panel, said: “The code rules do not exist to prevent humourous or innovative brand marketing but to make sure that humour is used responsibly.
“We urge producers to exercise due diligence and consult our Code Advisory Team if they are in any doubt.”
Retailers have been issued with instructions not to place orders for stocks of Dead Pony Club in its current packaging after July 8, 2014.
Last week the Scottish brewer opened its first craft beer bottle shop in London.