A man has won a judgment in small claims court in the United Kingdom against Scottish brewer BrewDog, on the basis of sex discrimination over how he was sold the brewery’s Pink IPA.
The beginning of this story goes back to early 2018, with BrewDog’s launch of the “Beer For Girls” campaign which debuted in conjunction with International Women’s Day. Per the brewery’s website, Pink IPA targets not only the gender pay gap but also targets how some breweries rely on sexist marketing to sell their beers. On International Women’s Day, the beer was sold for 20% less to anyone that identified as a female. Men paid more for the beer. Furthermore, Brewdog wrote on their website: “Men? You pay full price. Reality really is that harsh.”
In the case, 27-year-old Dr. Thomas Bower stated he attempted to purchase Pink IPA at the BrewDog location in Cardiff, Wales and was charged the more expensive price until he was “forced” to identify as a female. Once he self-identified as female, he was charged the cheaper price.
According to Bower, charging different prices for the beer dependent solely on whether you were female or male violates the UK Equality Act of 2010, enacted by Parliament.
BrewDog stated the price difference was not discrimination, but “a part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap,” the Independent.co.uk reports.
Apparently, Bower would have dropped the entire thing, had BrewDog just apologized publicly for the incident. BrewDog did not, and allowing the case to proceed.
Ultimately, the court didn’t see the same virtue in the Beer For Girls/Pink IPA pricing move, finding that simply that BrewDog discriminated against Dr. Bower based on his sex, and awarded him $1,200 (USD).
A sum he donated, minus court costs, to both women’s and men’s charities.
Update 9/28, 9 AM: Finally confirming Scofflaw’s story in regards a rogue press release that was sent on their behalf stating they would give away free beer to President Trump supporters in Brewdog bars, Frank. the publicist has issued a retraction. As Beer Street Journal mentioned yesterday, the failed promotion was invented solely by Frank. The company’s Facebook page mentions the following
Addtionally, UK journalists received late-day email retractions from the agency’s founder, Andrew Bloch. “You may have received an email with incorrect information regarding Scofflaw Brewery entering the UK market, encouraging Trump supporters to join them for a beer. PLEASE NOTE, THIS WAS INCORRECT INFORMATION AND IS NOT A MESSAGE FROM THE BRAND. Please accept my huge apologies for the confusion and do not run the piece.”
Upon seeing the original press release and social media backlash, Brewdog immediately canceled all events with Atlanta based Scofflaw Brewing and pulled all beer from their taps. Shirah and members of the brewery were in London promoting the launch. According to co-founder Matt Shirah, Brewdog never met with the brewery before taking the actions, starting their own “Hope, not Hate Promotion” on their own.
When asked about the fate of their partnerships and if Brewdog had contacted Scofflaw, Shirah stated “Nothing yet. Now we have to work to repair the damage that has been done to any of our relationships and reputations. I doubt we can recover in Europe, but the support from home has been overwhelming. I’m heading home now, as in I am in the air, so that I can spend time with our friends and brewery supporters”.
The original story appears below.
Atlanta based Scofflaw Brewing is spending the week in the United Kingdom, celebrating the launch of their hoppy lineup in the country thanks to partner BrewDog Brewing. The Scottish craft brewery has been contract brewing and packaging Scofflaw’s cans at their new Ohio facility for the last year while Scofflaw expands into a 50-barrel brewhouse.
The opportunity to expand the business partnership came up over the summer, with Brewdog offering to import Scofflaw’s lineup for the Brewdog guest taps in the UK.
The week was moving along smoothly until last night. Frank., a London based Public Relations Firm sent out a press release to their UK based list promoting Scofflaw and Brewdog joint events. Per the release – Scofflaw would give away free beer if the patrons would dress up as Trump supporters.
Outrage ensued, and social media excoriated Scofflaw for their stunt, prompting Brewdog to send out a tweet early this morning.
Beer Street Journal reached out to Matt Shirah for his side the story. Per Shirah, that press release was not authorized by him or his brewery.
According to Shirah, he made the decision to hire Frank. for the week to promote his joint events in the United Kingdom. The only press release Shirah, or Scofflaw authorized was the initial announcement of the brewery partnership and launch in the UK. Nothing else.
“I was unaware of any press release. The first one was the only one they were tasked to release, you saw the one. I gave them nothing else,” says Shirah.
When asked if Scofflaw Brewing or any brewery employee wrote, or authorized this press release, Shirah immediately responded “They did this without my consent or review. Just made it up. Fiction.”
“The PR firm, one agent, went out on their own. Maybe they don’t like Brewdog. Getting killed here. We can’t even leave the hotel room,” Shirah adds.
“Frank made it up and sent it. It was never a plan. never heard of it until it hit the press,” Shirah continues.
Shirah also mentions that Brewdog had no discussion with him or the brewing team. Brewdog saw the social media reaction and opted to pull the beer and end the partnership over Twitter, in public.
Beer Street Journal has repeatedly contacted Andrew Bloch, founder and managing partner of Frank. Our repeated requests for a statement have been denied. The firm has failed to respond to any request.
Scofflaw has been responding to angry fans on Instagram this morning. Another response to note:
scofflawbeer@thebrewbrotha we were blindsided. Did not come from @scofflawbeer and was not approved by @scofflawbeer. I think @brewdogofficialdid not know what happened either and just reacted. Ping @frankpublicity with questions. Sitting here trying to get them to respond and trying to the bottom of this…and reading all the threats I am getting. #happythursday
Additionally, this morning Scofflaw posted this to Instagram:
Brewdog’s official statement includes a few discussions on America’s politics, as well as offering free beer to people who stand up for “Hope, not Hate”. It’s also important to note that their mention of “Frank PR” erroneously refers to a New York PR firm. The publicst is based in London, and simply called “Frank.”
FREE BEERS FOR PEOPLE WHO STAND FOR HOPE, NOT HATE
Today we were the victim of Fake News, with Scofflaw falsely promoting an offer for Trump supporters in our bars that we had no idea about.
We’d like to again categorically confirm we did not know of, endorse or approve this promotion and as a result we’ll be sending all the Scofflaw beer from our bars back to the US. We had planned to stock their beers in our bars, and hold collaborative tasting events, but nobody ever mentioned anything about Trump to us.
We will also offer that free beer they promised, but this time it will be Punk IPA (or any of our other headliners) to anyone who shows up to our bars in the name of love not hate. All you need to do is tell the bar staff at any UK BrewDog bar, BrewDog Brussels or BrewDog Berlin Mitte you’re a lover not a hater, and we’ll pour you a free pint.
From what we can tell, the rogue press release about the weird Trump offer was sent to media without us ever seeing it, let alone agreeing to it, from Scofflaw’s PR agency, Frank PR. It’s not just that it wasn’t approved that is the issue for us here – it’s the fact that the offer directly contradicts our own views and values at BrewDog.
We’ve been pretty clear about our views here in the past. When The Donald pulled out of the Paris Accord, we produced a protest beer called Make Earth Great Again, drawing attention to the ingredients under threat from climate change and donating profits to climate change action group 10:10.
This story is developing. Check back for more details as they become available …
Atlanta, Georgia based Scofflaw Brewing will be available at all 36 Brewdog locations in the United Kingdom starting in September.
Over the past year, Scofflaw’s canning was outsourced to Brewdog’s new Ohio production facility. Attendees to the Ohio taproom got a taste of Scofflaw, the only place outside of Georgia the goat-themed brewery could be found. The partnership is evolving further, with Brewdog cold-chain shipping their Basement IPA and POG IPA, plus Vanilla Barrel-Aged Absentium abroad.
UK drinkers can expect Scofflaw on guest taps at Brewdog locations starting in late-September into October.
Image: Beer Street Journal
Scottish brewer Brewdog has launched their own subscription beer centered tv network this week. The BrewDog Network is available online starting today.
In addition to building production facilities and brewpubs across Europe and most recently Ohio, co-founders Martin Dickie and James Watt have been seen on their “extreme brewing” tv show “Brewdogs”. Their tv show featured the duo going to extremes to brew some interesting beer, like brewing with lava rocks in Hawaii or creating the most expensive beer recipe on earth in Las Vegas.
The tv a show hasn’t been seen since NBCUniversal axed the network last summer. Brewdog has continued filming episodes for their this new streaming network.
The channel features celebrities like William Shatner, Zane Lamprey, and Alison Becker (Shauna Malwae-Tweep from Parks & Rec).
In honor of the launch, Brewdog launched Beer.Porn, a parody site mimicking the number #1 most visited porn site on earth – PornHub. The mock site has some pretty porny sounding video titles like “Josh has an ale-to-mouth adventure”, “Three Bad boys explode everywhere”and “Nerdy brunette loves big cocktails”. All the videos actually deal with booze and not bodily fluids. 24 hours later, the domain redirects to the Brewdog TV landing page.
The network is free for the first 7 days, and $4.99 a month after the trial concludes. At launch, The Brewdog Network touts 14 original shows.
Asheville, Norh Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewing said goodbye today to their Head of Sour Production manager Richard Kilcullen. He is departing the brewery for Scotland based BrewDog.
An employee with Wicked Weed since day one, Kilcullen is one of the talented individuals responsible for the magic that comes out of the brewery’s Funkatorium.
Construction begins this month on Brewdog’s sour and wild beer facility in Ellon, Scotland, near Aberdeen.
“One of my greatest passions as a brewer is incorporating the local flavors and flora into my beers. I look forward to finding native yeasts and microbes everywhere from the heather-strewn fields, the oldest of orchards, and maybe some of the icy peaks in the Highlands as well. The Scots are no strangers to wild yeast and barrel aging and I hope to tap into that tradition to give BrewDog beers an identity all their own” – Richard Kilcullen
The new facility is tentatively being called Brewdog Overworks, a stand alone sour and wild facility. The brewery should be completed by fall, 2017. Per BrewDog, expect fruited Berliner Weisse, oak barrel sour ales, fruited sour ales, farmhouse ales, and of course – a lot of oak foudres.
Brewdog End of History, the Scottish brewery’s 55% alcohol by volume beer that is packaged in a taxidermied squirrel, will be brewed stateside.
Back in 2010, Brewdog released just 12 bottles of End of History, best know probably for its packaging, and not the ridiculous strength of the beer itself. Biologically, a 55% ABV beer isn’t brewed by fermentation alone, so Brewdog continually freezes off excess water dozens of times, resulting in the 55% monster.
Incidentally, End of History will be the first beer brewed at the new Brewdog facility in Ohio. Recently, Ohio repealed an old law preventing beer over 12% ABV to be sold in the state.
If you want a bottle of one of the world’s most rare beer, it will cost you. Investors that commit at least $20,000 dollars to the brewery’s Equity for Punks program (a crowd funding initiative), will be offered access to End of History.
To date, Equity for Punks has raised over 50 million in funds for Brewdog’s various expansion initiatives.
Scottish craft brewery and TV stars, Brewdog, will build a 100,000 square foot brewery in Canal Winchester, Ohio, just 15 miles from Columbus. The site will span over 40 acres, boast a 100-barrel brewhouse, a tap room, restaurant, and office space.
The brewery has formally announced the build this week, which will cost around $30 million dollars. The starting capacity is 85,000 barrels (2.6 million gallons) annual. Future capacity for the Ohio facility will break 800,000 barrels. Brewdog USA will employ around 125 people.
“America has one of the world’s most eclectic, energetic beer scenes imaginable, and we’re psyched to be pledging allegiance to the craft beer revolution in the USA.” – James Watt, Brewdog co-founder
Brewdog has already opened 27 bars across the United Kingdom since 2010. In addition to the new facility, the brewery plans to build at least five Brewdog themed bars in the United States. Beer Street Journal is told the northeast, west coast, and Florida are all potential build sites.
In order to fund the brewery build, Brewdog is using around $3 million dollars raised fromEquity for Punks, a crowd funding campaign first launched in the United Kingdom.
The build is expected to be completed by August, 2016.
Updated 6/29/15, 3:15 pm