Fierce backlash forces brewery to scrap ‘sexual harassment’ beer description
A British microbrewery has apologised after customers complained that the labels on one of its beers glamourised and diminished sexual harassment.
Fierce & Noble in Bristol’s St. Werburghs district launched a black IPA back in September, but has had to make a public apology after facing havy criticism on social media.
The labels said the beer “will attempt to clumsily seduce you by complimenting your hair whilst attempting to slip you the tongue.”
— Kimbers ⭐️ (@kim_neverenough) November 6, 2017
Bloggers and beer enthusiasts responded quickly to the branding, calling it “gross” and “inappropriate.”
The brewery initially rebuffed the negative backlash, arguing that it is a mixed-gender employer.
“This is the first time our beer has offended anyone,” Fierce & Noble wrote on Twitter in response to complaints back in September.
— thirstybeernerdess (@laylasquare) September 15, 2017
“As a mixed gender team we hadn’t given the beer a gender.”
It added: “besides, we all like being complimented on hair.”
This is the first time our beer has offended anyone – as a mixed gender team we hadn’t given the beer a gender…
— fierce&noble (@fierceandnoble) September 15, 2017
But people weren’t happy. Twitter user ThirstyBeerNerdess said the label “reads like the beginning of a bad soft porn film starring a beer can.”
Another called the branding “gross and wrong,” adding that they believed the business would “definitely not sell any beer.” Brisol-based food blogger Pithy Blinder said the label should instead read:
“This beer is socially inept with poor boundaries and will ruin a perfectly nice night out.”
The negative backlash gained momentum again earlier this month, with some Twitter users also contacting Halo, the marketing firm Fierce & Noble worked with to produce its beer labels.
Eventually, Fierce & Noble wrote back saying the labels were being changed, and apologised for the offence caused earlier this month.
“We are aware this description has caused offence to some,” the brewer posted on 6 November.
“This was not our intention and we are going to change it asap.”
@fierceandnoble approved new copy last week. We’re sorry it caused offence and overshadowed what is great beer made by lovely people.
— Halo (@weare_halo) November 6, 2017
Reacting to the backlash, Halo also posted its own apology on the social media site.
“We totally understand the strong reaction to the description,” said the marketing firm. “You’re right that it should change and it’s been rewritten.”
“It was misjudged and has been addressed. No offence was meant by the brand and we have already rewritten and submitted new copy for them.”
This isn’t the first time a brewer’s insensitive labelling has sparked cries of sexism in the craft sector. Last month, UK-based beer group Ladies that Beer launched a campaign against an Italian microbrewery for its graphic labelling of an English bitter called “Deep Throat.”
The branding showed a woman with what appeared to be a corn cob rammed down her throat.