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Brewdog’s ‘beer porn’ publicity stunt — how the craft world reacted

Beer giant Brewdog has said it is making a “genuine move” into digital streaming, launching a Netflix-style video service, but an accompanying parody website dedicated to “beer porn” went down exactly as you’d expect in the craft world.

The beer firm, which launched its streaming service on Tuesday, said the BrewDog Network will be an on-demand subscription service “offering a broad range of beer, food, travel and entertainment shows, with hundreds of hours of fresh content available from day one; new content added weekly and a new series premier every quarter.”

A spokesperson for Brewdog told the drinks business the parody site had not affected the popularity of its streaming service, which it said currently has 4,000 subscribers.

“We launched in the USA on Monday with the mission of making craft beer content the most popular on the web, surpassing porn for the top spot. Our parody site, BeerPorn, was well received by many but not everyone loved the premise of the innuendo-laden web page.

“Visitors to http://beer.porn will now find themselves redirected to The BrewDog Network, where actual beer porn is available in abundance.”

Scroll through to see how the industry reacted…

Beer writer and author Melissa Cole took the time to write a detailed account of exactly why she found the campaign exclusionary and insensitive.

“Once again this a directly sexist campaign,” she said, adding: “if you look carefully enough you’ve got some racism.”

Melissa’s reaction covers everything from the fact that some videos depict Brewdog’s founders dressing as women (“The idea that ‘men pretending to be women’ is funny because, ya know, they do love at bit of transphobia at Brodog HQ and also the idea that men liking men is a good joke, homophobia, how very 2018), to the inherent issue with launching an ad campaign which ties itself to the porn industry, which critics said has a “long history” of sexism and exploitation.

Melissa’s reaction was prompted by a thread by US-based beer writer Carla Jean Lauter, who called the beer giant’s promotion and its link to the porn industry “confusing and disconnected.”

“The butt of the jokes include men pretending to be women and being gay as a punchline. Neither are particularly funny or land well. Gay and trans people aren’t punchlines.”

“I am dissapointed that, as a company, you were unable to find any other way to market your online content than through the ‘lens’ of video pornography and jokes about sexuality, when your shows do not seem to be about that at all.”

Other bloggers blasted the company’s branding as “repulsive.

As well as this, a number of beer fans who had donated funds to the brewer through its various crowdfunding campaigns said they now wanted to sell their shares.


Some commenters suggested this could only be bad news for the beer industry, which is already facing a steady decline globally.

A spokesperson for the brewer explained in another tweet that the parody website was “a joke”.

This, of course, isn’t the first time Brewdog has had to explain to everyone on social media that a PR stunt that fell flat was “a joke”. Just six months ago, the brewer was forced to backpedal after launching Pink IPA. The beer, which was just its flagship Punk IPA repackaged with a pink label, was marketed as a “beer for girls”, and was launched to coincide with International Women’s Day in March.

Despite the press release insisting that the beer is a send-up of “lazy marketing efforts targeting the female market,” many pointed out that swapping blue labels for pink in a promotion around international Women’s Day was also a lazy marketing effort targeting women.

One commenter used a visual metaphor which pretty much sums the whole of Tuesday up.

The “dumpsterfire”, for those not au fait with Twitter jargon, is used to represent “a chaotic or disastrously mishandled situation,” according to the Miriam Webster dictionary.

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