BrewDog Stirs Up Controversy with First Transgender Beer

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Article by Lizzy Peper | esPResso Committee Member

After posting a video advertisement that offended transgender women in September, Scottish Brewing Company BrewDog is launching another controversial campaign: the introduction of the first “transgender beer.” The beer called No Label was unveiled at the company’s store opening in Soho, London on Nov. 6.

According to BrewDog’s website, No Label is “designed to reflect the diversity of the area and champion inclusivity,” and it has been “brewed with hops that have changed sex from female to male flowers prior to harvest. We have used these to emphasize that, just like humans, beer can be whatever the hell it wants to be, and proud of it.”

In addition to bringing attention to the transgender community, Fortune reports that “profits of No Label will go to Queerest of the Queer, a London-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization, which will in turn donate them to various charities that support transgender youth communities.”

Many credit the owners of BrewDog with creating a public relations campaign that involves a charitable element. Rich Leigh, founder of PRexamples.com and director of PR agency Rich Leigh & Company, writes that the campaign has made appearances in national LGBT media outlets such as Gay Times and Pink News.

However, BrewDog is also receiving heavy criticism from those who believe the company is exploiting the transgender community to gain publicity for its new product. A representative from Stonewall, a LGBT rights lobbying group in London, expressed concern with the language used to describe No Label. “Many trans people do not transition, or identify with binary genders,” the spokesperson says.

Despite the mixed reviews from the transgender community, it seems likely that BrewDog will continue to apply controversial PR practices to its campaigns.

Photo credited by Wikimedia.

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