Men's Journal

Brewers Association Takes Crack at Lewd Beer Labels

 Martin Mistretta / Getty images

Black Stouts Matter, Pantydropper Ale, Happy Ending Imperial Stout, and any other beer that relies on, say, a woman’s breast size to describe the style of beer — consider yourselves on notice.

The Brewers Association (or BA), which is the Boulder-based non-profit trade group dedicated to independent craft brewers, is taking a crack at addressing racism and sexism within the craft beer industry. A first step: Addressing beers with offensive labels. (Because really, how trite has it become to use a busty blonde to describe a golden ale?)

While no specific beers are being called out for bad form just yet, the association has adopted initiatives to discourage brewers from using lewd and demeaning marketing strategies, which gives us a pretty good sense of the possible offenders. As such, beers with names or labels that are determined offensive won’t be announced at the annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) or the biennial World Beer Cup should they win awards. And, if one of those offensive beers should so happen to nab a title, the brewery won’t be allowed to use GABF in its marketing (i.e. the brewery can’t slap on a GABF winner label to its winning, albeit lewd, beer).

The move is taking a step to say that if a brand doesn’t comply with the advertising codes or make it past an independent review panel, the Brewers Association “will not promote or celebrate that brand, although they’ll still have earned or won the medal or award,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director.

The new rules are the BA’s answer to a culmination of events over the last few years, Herz says, including Brewery Association members, members of the media, and beer lovers raising concerns about demeaning labels.

“In today’s culture, we realize that there are many different viewpoints about inclusive advertising,” she says. Herz says she’s received feedback from some saying the association has gone too far, and others saying it hasn’t gone far enough. To help determine what constitutes as offensive, the BA has updated its advertising code, assembled a three-member review panel to make sure competition-winning beers adhere to the advertising standards, and set up a complaint process so breweries can report offensive beers.

In addition, the BA has set up a new diversity committee that met for the first time last week. The committee will use 2017 as an “information gathering” year, Herz says. Scott Metzger, who is on the board of directors and is the founder of Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio, Texas, is the chairman of the committee.