Can we be trusted to drink responsibly, even when the labels on beer bottles ‘imply’ otherwise? Or, is the temptation just too much?
This week, BrewDog, world-famous Scottish brewer and counter-cultural icon, released a vicious public takedown of Portman Group, a private alcohol industry standards organisation, after its Dead Pony Club Ale was rejected on the grounds that it promotes ‘anti-social behaviour’ and ‘binge drinking’. The release, posted on the brewer’s official blog, attacks Portman Group’s attempt to censor a few words and phrases on the product label that are evidently too tempting for British alcohol drinkers to resist.
Luckily for us, we live in a society where brave advocates of public safety like Portman Group exist to protect us from ourselves. That being said, Portman Group is a private organisation. Their decision to reject Dead Pony Club Ale was their right, and not an instance of government infringement of free speech. It is, however, paternalistic and laughable. The brewer’s response, in exactly the opposite way, will also make you laugh. Setting the debate over freedom of expression and public safety aside, BrewDog’s brazen reply to such thin skinned censorship is sure to amuse and inspire, and will no doubt sell more beer than ever following this latest stunt.
Read BrewDog’s post below:
On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its 14,691 individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today’s ruling. Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.
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.
The Portman Group took objection to the phrase “rip it up down empty streets”? Mr Portman, you seem to like taking things literally. Can you please explain how something can be ‘anti-social’ if the streets are empty? Anti-social is defined as ‘contrary to the laws and customs of society, in a way that causes annoyance and disapproval in others.’ If the streets are empty, there are no ‘others’ to annoy.
As for not agreeing with “we believe faster is better”, well I think the archaic existence of the Portman Group proves just how bad “slow” can really be. Maybe they should try and catch up with the rest of the world instead of insulting the intelligence of consumers with such a thin veneer of impartiality. It is an embarrassing condemnation of the mega brewers who provide their funding, the same mega brewers whose pricing reaps havoc on society.
Mr Portman, we’d be appreciative if you could now kindly save some trees and stop sending us meaningless letters.
We sincerely hope that the sarcasm of this message fits the Portman Group criteria of responsible use of humour.