February 24 2017
All About Beer Magazine says it will no longer give coverage to beers with names or images that “fall into poor taste,” specifically attacking sexist brews.
In a March editorial, the magazine called out “Panty Peeler. Phat Bottom. And all the unfortunate beers that use the color of a woman’s hair that also coordinate with a beer style—Blonde, Amber—and take a large bra size to create a name. … This is still a male-dominated industry, both in terms of its employees and its customers. The jocular attitude that women are somehow beneath men or simply objects, however, is something that should have been eradicated a long time ago.”
The past year has seen several controversies surrounding beers accused of sexism. But it’s hard to imagine a beer magazine that withholds editorial coverage from any brew that describes itself as “amber” or “blonde.”
In many cases, it’s far from clear whether the beer branding was meant to demean women or, instead, intended to reinforce feminist messages.
Take, for instance, the Panty Peeler, which All About Beer magazine specifically mentioned in its editorial. It drew national attention when a Fullbright scholar accused it of promoting “rape culture.”
But the beer was actually created and named by the female co-founder of Midnight Sun Brewing Co., who told Heat Street last fall that she meant it to be “consensual-sex positive.” She chose the logo as a symbol of female empowerment, a reference to Lady Godiva. As part of its marketing strategy, the brewery has encouraged its female buyers to post photos of themselves on adventures with the Panty Peeler in tow.
And what about “Makin’ Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer,” which was created by social justice warriors to protest Donald Trump? Could the name be construed as sexist, or is it actually feminist? Or is it actually transphobic, because its name references only female genitalia when talking about women’s rights?
That’s to say nothing of “The Pant Antler,” a beer created with the sole purpose of “objectify[ing] the male genitalia” and poking fun at all genders, said brewery owner Tom Porter. Does All About Beer Magazine plan to wade into the discussion about misanthropy?
In its editorial, All About Beer Magazine says its objective is “to cover the beer industry in all forms.” In the same breath, the editorial claims the magazine has “a social responsibility to stand up against anything that demeans our fellow citizens, regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation and race.”
Political correctness has increasingly intersected with the beer industry, and many craft brewers are using humorous, racy, or tongue-and-cheek names to help their product stand out in a crowded marketplace.
To fulfill its “social justice responsibility,” All About Beer Magazine is positioning itself as an arbiter of what is demeaning and tasteless. In doing so, it may well undermine its most fundamental editorial mission.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.