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Online backlash as BrewDog launches beer in bid to highlight gender pay gap

The firm says its Pink IPA sends-up ‘lazy’ marketing efforts to target women.

Craft brewer BrewDog has faced a backlash after unveiling a newly-branded beer designed to shine a light on the gender pay gap.

The Scottish company claims Pink IPA, a repackaged version of its Punk IPA, is “satirically dubbed ‘beer for girls'” and is a send-up of “lazy” marketing efforts to target the female market.

A tweet from the brewery said: “This is not ‘beer for girls’. This is beer for equality. Pink IPA has landed.”

The move, however, prompted a number of negative responses on Twitter.

One woman wrote: “This has the right motivations but the wrong execution. You have lots of supportive shareholders who are female scientists & engineers. They could have been involved, collaborated and a simple engagement with those supporters could have given you a much stronger campaign.”

Another Twitter user said: “Pink and ‘beer for girls’ puts me off not just that beer, but the whole range. Because essentially you’re implying the rest of the range isn’t for me, even though I despise pink. Poorly thought out for the 21st century. Btw, most of your biggest fans I know are female.”

Another commentator said: “Don’t doubt your intentions are good but the execution of this is well off the mark.”

A further tweet from the brewers stated: “We’ve created a beer for girls. And it’s pink. Because women only like pink and glitter, right? #Sarcasm Lets show that enough is enough with stereotypes.”

This too drew criticism, with one Twitter user stating: “You’ve literally created what you set out to avoid. The world isn’t ready for satirical sexist marketing, it’s just not there yet.”

Others, however, jumped to the company’s defence.

One woman wrote: “Can I just say thank you so much for taking this important stand. The gap is a major issue in my industry and I have had to fight to be paid the same rate for the same job as my male peers.”

In a statement on its website, the firm said it will be serving the beer at 20% cheaper in its bars to those who identify as women and donating 20% of its proceeds from the two IPAs to causes that fight against gender inequality.

Sarah Warman, BrewDog’s global head of marketing, said: “The fact that the gender pay gap is still an issue in 2018 shows that a lot of lip service is being paid, but not enough action is being taken to tackle inequality.

“We want to accelerate change by empowering more women to make their voices heard and calling out industries and employees that need to do more. With Pink IPA, we are making a statement the only way we know how – with beer.”

Responding to the online debate, she added: “We always anticipated that some people might not immediately appreciate the irony of Pink IPA but that did not deter us in our mission to spark a conversation about the gender pay gap.

“Pink IPA is clearly an over-the-top ridiculing of the types of sexist marketing we often see from brands trying to engage a female audience.

“This beer is part of a bigger campaign that raises awareness of the scourge of the gender pay gap and sexism; two issues we think we should be doing a lot more to solve as a society.”

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