The 13 Most Sexist Names & Labels in Craft Beer
Guys like beer, and guys like women. This is why the industry markets its products on the promise that drinking beer will get you laid. This is obviously false. Beer makes you fat and sleepy, not sexy. More importantly, it’s exclusionary: plenty of women like beer, and plenty of guys who like beer don’t like women. Nevertheless heteronormative sex sells, and for a long time, it’s been used to sell beer to men.
Back when the country’s suds landscape was dominated by macrobrewers with nationally broadcasted TV advertisements, this sort of base beer sexism was easier to spot. Sometimes, the public even got offended by it, as in the case of Old Milwaukee’s Swedish Bikini Team (though that poorly timed campaign was actually meant to parody the market’s misogyny.)
These days, the biggest brewers have (mostly) wised up to the scrutiny they’re under, but the craft industry is still provincial enough that casual sexism abounds, even on labels. So we took a look around and assembled this list of 13 beers with heterosexually suggestive names targeted at male customers. Some are meant in obvious good fun; others are vicious and uncomfortable.
While we love the breweries behind these products, there’s still plenty of misogyny in craft beer, and we don't love that they're perpetuating it -- intentionally or not. Our community should make people -- all people, of all genders -- feel welcome. That's better for business and for humanity. After all, everyone loves beer, everyone loves sex, and everyone could use a little more of both.
Do you know that "bitch" is actually the correct term for "female dog"? Probably. Do you know what sophistry is? Probably not, if you believe that the name of this Maryland-brewed monstrosity is anything other than a cheap reference to "tha pesky wimmins" who drive their kind, compassionate husbands to drink. Hunter S. Thompson, who was personal friends with Flying Dog's founder and whose illustrator created much of the original label art, might have something to say about it.
Hop Valley Mr. IPA (aka "Mouth Raper")Current status: Renamed
There's plenty of Internet soapboxing about whether the brewer named its IPA "Mouth Raper," or customers took to referring it as such because of its aggressive hoppiness and the convenience of its prefix (Mr. = MR = "Mouth Raper"?)
After this story got traction on beer blogs, Hop Valley issued a Facebook post claiming the name was an unofficial "urban myth," but a commenter (an admittedly unverified source) claims to know an employee of the Oregon brewery who said "if it's an urban legend and misunderstanding, it came directly from the mouth of the brewers." At Beervana, Jeff Alworth ran an item from a reader claiming to have seen Hop Valley kegs labeled "Mouth Raper IPA" (no photos, though.) Jezebel added to the MR dust-up with a damning (but anonymous) affirmation from a woman claiming to work at the brewery. Yikes.
The name of this particular double brown ale from the Massachusetts brewery may seem like a margin call... until you see the label. There she is: a highly sexualized, barely clothed "angel" who also happens to be a person of color. Because brown. Do you see?
First of all, I love this Indiana brewery. Second of all, it's a pretty big bummer that the same come-one, come-all metalheads behind Dark Lord Day would slap a pair of ladies -- bodies ludicrously over-sexualized and hilariously underdressed -- onto the label of their Flemish red. They look like extras from Xena: Warrior Princess, a false-flag "pro-women" show that just couldn't figure out a way to empower its main character without squeezing her into a leather thong. Third of all, it's "titty," or even "tittie." But it is not "tiddy."
Sometimes, it's cool to have enormous boobs shoved in your face -- like when you're enjoying an intimate flesh-sesh with another consenting human, in the privacy of your own home/the local strip club. If you're into this sort of thing, that is.
Other times, it's sorta grim, because a beer brand is transparently co-opting female anatomy as a dehumanizing marketing mechanism towards a historically privileged, overwhelmingly male customer base. This is the latter.
Tipping Point Chunky Gal AmberCurrent status: On the shelves
"I'm not sexist," says every obnoxious bro you've ever had the misfortune of drinking with. "Fat chicks need lovin', too!" Maybe this commonly offered apologia is how North Carolina's Tipping Point landed on a name for its amber, which will be bottled in bombers and available on tap, according to MyBeerBuzz. Maybe not. Either way, the logic of "celebrating" the personhood of large women by by suggesting it's somehow tied to their most visible physical dimension (their size) dehumanizes them. All humans need lovin' (except for Rip Torn), and this beer could really use a new label.
There is a staggering array of truly mediocre blonde beer/blonde woman brew names out there, but Texas being Texas, this is the only one that elected to drive home the very-obvious innuendo with a vaguely rape-y slogan. "Goes down easy," it says, apparently because alcohol and coerced sexual contact aren't closely related enough.
I'm all for body positivity and accepting people (especially women) for who they are instead of demanding they meet society's impossible beauty standards. But this beer isn't designed to empower large women; it's designed to get a cheap laugh from a clunky pun and a cartoonishly balloonish objectification of a fatty.
"This limited release Imperial Stout is a dry hopped stiffy," promises the Georgia brewery's website, "leading to an explosive finish." They're talking about boners and stuff, you guys! DO YOU GET IT? For anyone who didn't spend time in a high school locker room, "happy ending" is the widely used slang term for the hand job a killer bro might request from his female masseuse after a rubdown, which is why the label features a box of tissues. This isn't just objectively disgusting. It's also plainly targeted at the sort of high-fiving, Chuck Norris joke-telling protein sleds who would religiously avoid movies that passed the Bechdel test, if they only knew what the Bechdel test was.
Belgian-style tripels brewed with coriander and citrus are delicious. This is a fact. But lighter-bodied, fruitier beers like this one are often pegged as "girly" because they're less aggressively hoppy, as though there aren't plenty of women who like that (and at least one dude who hates that.) Also, the label art of a naked female figure being carried across the sky on a flying horse doesn't exactly scream "we value women as real people, not mythical sex phantoms!" In fact, it sorta screams the opposite.
This undeniably excellent Belgian brewer is renowned for its incredible lambics & gueuzes, but its label art could use a little work. This bottle in particular features Gambrinus (the brewing godfather of German folklore) dressed in a suit of armor getting a lap dance from a naked lady. Which, like, come on.
The practice of keeping multiple wives isn't technically synonymous with polygamy -- that's polygyny, which along with polyandry, is a specific form of polygamy. So polygamy itself isn't, by technical definition, a cultural green light to collect subservient wives like parlor chairs and demand that they pump out offspring for you, all while respecting your choice as a man to offer them in return only a portion of your unconditional love. Technically.
See "Hailstorm BBW."