Beer withdrawn from festival after backlash over name
An Australian beer has been withdrawn from an upcoming drinks festival after its name and logo sparked a backlash.
Queensland-based Blackflag Brewing posted an apology on social media yesterday regarding the furore around their 18.1 per cent alcohol content beer "Barely Legal", which was set to roll out at the Great Australian Beer Spectapular (GABS) in Melbourne this weekend.
Critics claimed the name promoted the sexualisation and objectification of young women, as well as referencing a pornographic term.
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The beer's logo also made use of the same colours as that of an online pornography video site.
The brewer said that it "deeply regrets any offence or distress" caused by the marketing campaign.
"We acknowledge that a single marketing theme, which was intended to be light-hearted and engaging, unfortunately missed the mark and inadvertently conveyed unintended implications that were offensive," the statement read.
"At Blackflag, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful environment for all of our customers, partners, and stakeholders."
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Blackflag said the "marketing theme in question has been discontinued", and the company was conducting a review to avoid future "missteps".
The brewer is also set to implement a diversity and inclusion training program for all employees.
"Our goal moving forward is to learn from this experience and to implement changes that will contribute to a more inclusive and respectful business," the statement read.
The charge against the branding was led by Drinks Agents for Change, a women-led group of beer industry members.
Posting on Instagram, the group said the name was "insensitive and offensive".
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"It creates a culture where sexism and sexualising minors is not only accepted, but celebrated," the group said.
"We are trying to educate the industry that there is no such thing as 'just joking', there are potentially very real and dangerous consequences to other people."
Drinks Agents for Change also posted a response from GABS after they raised their concerns.
Festival organisers said they shared the group's concerns and had spoken with Blackflag.
The beer was subsequently withdrawn from the festival line-up.
"GABS shares the belief that it is crucial for all businesses to uphold responsible practices that align with the values and sensitivities of all consumers, and by taking action to work alongside all parties on the matter, have demonstrated how direct positive dialogue, on any topic, between industry leaders can help us all grow together," GABS managing director Mike Bray told 9news.com.au.
9news.com.au has contacted Blackflag Brewing for comment.
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