The Lowdown: BrewDog's Boris beer

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Lowdown BrewDog's Boris beer

Related tags: Beer, Brewdog, Boris johnson, brexit, Bar, Protest

BrewDog has decided to protest the actions of Prime Minster Boris Johnson with the launch of a new beer named Hello My Name Is (Unelected) Boris.

Not quite storming the barricades is it…
Well thankfully anarchy isn’t a hallmark of our society; although given the current political climate, it may be imprudent to rule it out in the future. In the meantime, though, those looking to show their dissatisfaction at our new government without taking to the streets can do so by picking up a bottle of hazy IPA.

Tell us about it.
BrewDog, the Scottish brewer and bar operator that created the protest pint, describe the beer as “a liquid protest against our second consecutive unelected leader in the UK at such an uncertain and perilous chapter in our nation’s history”. It’s initial purpose was to call out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, however, BrewDog says politics had now become so crazy that it is unable to brew beer and design labels quick enough to keep up with what's occurring in the halls of Westminster.

Isn’t it basically just an advantageous way to sell more booze?
It’s easy to jump to that conclusion (and probably not without some merit), but to be fair to BrewDog it has previously set a precedent for using its brand to speak up both for and against political actions it feels strongly about.

How so?
In 2014 it launched a ‘not for gays' beer in protest of Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, which was released to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics (the founders even sending a crate of the beer to the Russian leader himself). And in 2017 it began selling a limited edition ‘Make Earth Great Again’ bottle in protest of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord (that time donating all the proceeds raised by the beer to climate action charity 10:10). And at the last general election the brand also set up a ‘Vote for Punk’ campaign that offered a free beer to anyone who voted, no matter what their political persuasion.

Impressive. Are there other operators that have taken similar steps?
Certainly. Lest we forget that JD Wetherspoons, whose chairman Tim Martin is one of the most outspoken business proponents of a no-deal Brexit, printed hundreds of thousands of pro-Brexit beer mats during the EU referendum campaign.

It would appear such methods of activism can be influential then…
Definitely; for better or worse. What’s particularly noteworthy about BrewDog, though, is that while it uses these products to voice its own point of view, it also continues to promote inclusion. In response to the government shutdown, the brand invited MPs from all parties to drink the Boris beer in its bars for free, as they look for somewhere to work while parliament is closed. And why not, as BrewDog itself says: “Whatever is next for our country, drinking great craft beer might just get us through it”.

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