Craft Beer brand Brewdog has sparked a debate about sexism after announcing the launch of their new ‘Pink IPA’ beer for ‘girls’.
Rebranding its flagship Punk IPA with a hot pink label, BrewDog revealed in an article that the rebrand was intended to raise awareness of gender inequality.
“At BrewDog, we have always believed that beer is for everyone, and equality is a fundamental right,” a spokesman said.
“So today we are launching a clarion call to end the discrimination of gender pay inequality. In the UK men earn on average 20% more than women. And that’s not ok.
“So ahead of International Women’s Day this Thursday, we are launching Pink IPA. A beer for women. A beer for equality.”
The brewery and pub chain explained that the product was “satirically dubbed ‘Beer For Girls’,” adding that the aim was to “expose sexist marketing to women”.
Brewdog also announced that they planned to give 20% of the proceeds from Punk IPA and Pink IPA sold over the next four weeks to charities that fight inequality and support women – and that on Thursday (International Women’s Day), anyone who identifies as female will get 20% off in all Brewdog bars.
After sharing news of the launch on Twitter, the campaign quickly attracted criticism with some social media users dubbing it “patronising”.
Could have called it Emmeline Punkhurst and avoided the whole Pink for Girls think
— David Parr (@NocturneRose) March 6, 2018
Others pointed out that while they agreed with the idea behind the campaign, the execution was all wrong.
Not cool BrewDog not cool. Whilst the idea is great, sadly the execution is a big miss.
— Georgina Breeze (@georgina_breeze) March 6, 2018
A few pointed out that if you have to keep explaining that the campaign is sarcastic, the tone might have missed the mark somewhat.
Oh dear. This is like when teenagers discover sarcasm. Marketing pink beer at women in order to call out other people marketing pink beer at women isn’t “satirical”. It’s marketing pink beer at women.
— Libby (@CaptainLibatron) March 6, 2018
(I mean actually aim behind the campaign is quite good but still nobody bothered to wonder ‘hey is ironic sexism still sexism???’)
— Paul Hardcastle (@hardcastIe) March 6, 2018
A second tweet from the brand read: “We’ve created a beer for girls. And it’s pink. Because women only like pink and glitter, right? #Sarcasm Lets show that enough is enough with stereotypes.”
But that too sparked a backlash.
Didn’t realise I’ve been drinking ‘beer for boys’ all this time. What a silly girl I am! #shoveitupyourarse
— Stephanie (@tegsvonp) March 6, 2018
“Lets show that enough is enough with stereotypes” by creating a label in defiance of the stereotype that only perpetuates it further…
— Harry Morris (@harrythecaveman) March 6, 2018
Bit confused by this message, tbh. You appear to have created a pink “beer for girls”… sarcastically? You want men to drink it?
— Tracey Houghton (@TraceyH100) March 6, 2018
Speaking about the social media reaction to the launch Sarah Warman, BrewDog’s Global Head of Marketing told Yahoo Style UK: “We always anticipated that some people might not immediately appreciate the irony of Pink IPA but that did not deter us in our mission to spark a conversation about the gender pay gap.”
“Pink IPA is clearly an over-the-top ridiculing of the types of sexist marketing we often see from brands trying to engage a female audience.
“This beer is part of a bigger campaign that raises awareness of the scourge of the gender pay gap and sexism; two issues we think we should be doing a lot more to solve as a society. We’re proud to donate proceeds from the beer to The Women’s Engineering Society who are doing amazing work at inspiring women to break glass ceilings in the STEM sector.”
As part of the equality campaign Brewdog also intends to publish a full breakdown of its gender pay gap.
So there does seem to be genuinely well-intentioned meaning behind the ‘Pink IPA’ move, but this may be lost amongst the irony.
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: