Advertisements

Brew Dog’s Viagra Beer for the Royal Wedding Makes Me Feel Like a Beer Snob

Unable to turn down an opportunity to do something “outlandish” for attention, Brew Dog has created something special for the upcoming royal wedding.  It’s a 7.5% ABV beer containing Viagra, chocolate and horny goat weed called Royal Virility Performance.  Ugh.

The beer will be available for purchase on Brew Dog’s website on April 29th (the royal wedding day) for £10, but you’d better act fast, as only 40 bottles will be available.  Proceeds of the sales will go to Centerpoint, a charity that Prince William supports.  I’m sure the £400 will be a godsend for the charity, a real difference maker.  They’ve also sent a bottle along to Prince William for the big night.  Double ugh.

First, let me point out just how stupid this idea is.  Prince William is a young buck, and Kate Middleton is a rather comely young woman.  I don’t think they need any medications to get the wheels in motion.

Secondly, ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh, f-ing ugh!  I am so tired of these Brew Dog clowns.  I said it when Tactical Nuclear Penguin was released – these guys care more about  making headlines than making great beer, which rings especially true if you tasted that prickly swill.

I had actually stopped writing about Brew Dog because I just wanted them to go away, but this release is worth noting because it has made me come to a realization – I’m a beer snob.

Now I’m not a beer douche – I respect everyone’s right to drink what they like, how they like – but I’m definitely serious about beer.  Antics like these make me mad, because I feel like they take focus away from what’s important – making seriously awesome beer.  If Dogfish Head did stuff like this I’d be okay with it, because they brew delicious, creative beers – they’ve earned the right to play around in my book.  Even if this is how they do it.

But Brew Dog is a different story.  5AM Saint is an okay beer, and Tokio is decent as well, but I can’t say I’ve ever had anything from these guys that was truly wonderful.  As a matter of fact, I’d have no idea who they were if it weren’t for their “stunt” beers.  And I think that’s why they grate on me – I don’t think they’ve earned the attention they’re getting.

Agree or disagree, the point here is Brew Dog has made me realize I have a Puritanical streak when it comes to beer.  In a nutshell, be great or STFU.

In this case, please just STFU.

.

.

Keep Up With The Beer & Whiskey Brothers on Facebook!.

.

.

.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

48 Comments on “Brew Dog’s Viagra Beer for the Royal Wedding Makes Me Feel Like a Beer Snob”

  1. j3r3myjf
    April 18, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    If you follow some of the brewers who’ve actually gone and BREWED at Brew Dog only to find that they follow better brewing standards – and make better beer – than a LOT of North American breweries, you’d know that Brew Dog is a fantastic brewery.

    Tons of breweries do crazy beers as a marketing tactic – this is nothing new. To completely stop writing about a Brewery just because you don’t like one of their marketing tactics seems silly to me.

    As a brewer and beer-blogger I find this post rather amusing.

    Try the Brew Dog 77 Lager or their Trashy Blonde Ale – beers that outsell most of the local stuff here in Alberta 2 to 1….You might change your attitude.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:13 am #

      I’ve also heard that James is a cool guy, Jeremy. But the crap they pull makes me nuts. I know some folks enjoy their antics and others love the beers Brew Dog brews, but the fact that they release bad products for publicity (TNP for instance) makes me think their priorities aren’t aligned with my own.

      I’m sure Dogfish Head has brewed up a huge ABV beer, but they wouldn’t release it because they have standards.

      For whatever reason, these guys frost my flakes!!

      • April 18, 2011 at 10:28 am #

        “I’m sure Dogfish Head has brewed up a huge ABV beer, but they wouldn’t release it because they have standards.”

        This statement in your comments is probably the biggest thing for me… what are your standards? Release a big beer for grandstanding or release big beer because it’s awesome and you want people to enjoy it?

        Where does Brew Dog draw the line? I’ve had a few of their beers but, like you said Jim, they were good but nothing exceptional. Do they put out crap because the idea is cool or do they care about putting out a good product?

        • April 18, 2011 at 10:34 am #

          Well if you tasted Tactical Nuclear Penguin you’d know the answer. Imagine Everclear served in an ashtray…

  2. Rob Crozier
    April 18, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Agreed on all accounts – I refuse to buy any BrewDog products because of their grandstanding and would feel differently if their beer was any good, of which I think, is not.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      Yeah, every time I see that logo I think “LOOK AT ME!!!” and run away.

  3. Don
    April 18, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Jim, you need to look it like this, who is more popular, Tom Hanks or Steve O? Well 10 years ago it was undoubtedly Tom Hanks, but Steve O did a ton of very dangerous and silly tricks and lived to tell about it. And tell he did! So today he is probably on par (popularity wise) with Tom Hanks. Tom is still the way better actor, but Steve gets a lor more attention. So I guess what I am saying is there are at least two roads to popularity, and Brew Dog has chosen the Steve O way, while Dogfish and Ommegang, and others have chosen the Hanks way.

    Steve O won’t ruin Hollywood, and Brew Dog won’t ruin Craft beer…Lighten up a bit.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      I guess that explains why I don’t watch Jackass.

      • Don
        April 18, 2011 at 10:20 am #

        There you have it!

    • johnking82
      April 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      I met Steve-O on Spring Break in ’03…that explains his popularity.

      • April 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

        And perhaps your facial hair…

  4. Evan
    April 18, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    They’re trying to compensate for their beer being sub-par. My local bottle shop quit carrying them because people just wouldn’t spend twice as much for a beer that’s half as good as the local one next to it.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      That’s exactly how I feel – there’s always a better, cheaper local option.

  5. April 18, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Meh. This is a pretty typical British-sort of stunt to pull. Align your product with the UK’s most identifiable tourist attraction: the royals. Whatever. From what I understand, they make some pretty fantastic beers. A friend who is over there often for business raves about their stuff. It’s fresh and they have a nice variety over seas that we don’t see here. Plus, from everything I’ve read, those high ABV brews are more than just gimmicks. They actually taste pretty good, judging from the reviews I’ve seen.

    Sure, their stunts are a bit much, but I think you’re overreacting. And if the stunts are just to get some attention, I guess it’s working, eh?

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      It pains me to give them attention here, but I the lesson – that I’m prudish about beer promotion – made it seem worth it.

      Plus this beer seems to have no redeeming qualities besides shock value, which helps support my thoughts about these guys.

      And I’ve had several of their beer, and they’re slightly above average at best. It might be different in the UK, but then again, they don’t have all the (better) options we have here in the States.

  6. April 18, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    If you ever get the chance, try one of the Abstrakt series of beers they make. (www.abstrakt.com) These are some of the most delicious and interesting beers I’ve ever had. If you’re ever in MD, I’d be glad to share one with you.

    Also to their defense James is a stand up guy and their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever dealt with in beer and in a company in general.

    But I see where you’re coming from, the Viagra is a little ridiculous; but paying off the loads of new bars they’re opening needs some viral marketing to drive up beer sales for that young adult market.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      I hear that about James and some of the other folks at Brew Dog – they are decent folks and a lot of fun. And I understand that they need the attention to build their business, but after a series of frat-boy stunt beers (some served in carcasses) I question where their focus lies. Getting big or brewing special beers?

      I haven’t had their Abstrakt beers because I can’t bear to buy their beers – I don’t want to reward them for all of their BS.

      That’s the thing about branding – do it wrong (or too aggressively) and there can be a backlash.

  7. April 18, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Count me among the BrewDog supporters. I find their attention-whoring pretty creative and entertaining. I also think we also have to consider the vast difference between the American craft beer scene and the (almost nonexistent) one in the UK. They are up against a very strongly ingrained binge-drinking culture focused on watery continental lagers (Stella, Carling, Kronenburg). They also can’t count on support from CAMRA, since their beers are not “traditional” ales. Free publicity is really their only option at this point to let people know there is another option.

    I can see how this would be annoying or out of place in the US, which has a vibrant craft beer scene, but in their situation, I think it is understandable. They also do a very good job of promoting American craft beers by selling them in their own pubs and on their website.

    I also think their beers are quite tasty. Hardcore IPA, Tokyo, and their collaborations with Stone and Mikkeller are favorites of mine.

    • April 18, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      I see the logic in what you’re saying, but I have a visceral reaction to their antics. Not sure why I do, but it’s from the gut.

      I guess we can agree that they are polarizing at least…

      • Don
        April 18, 2011 at 11:00 am #

        It is kind of like how you feel about Fantasy Football.

        • April 18, 2011 at 11:09 am #

          No fantasy football is far worse than what Brew Dog does. I find Brew Dog’s antics inane, but fantasy football (and all the goddamn stats they run during games because of it) really makes me nuts. Nothing like tuning into sports talk radio to hear a half hour about “start ’em or sit ’em?” and “is this trade worth it?” Enough!! Get a life!!!

          Can’t we just watch guys paralyze each other like the good old days?

          Hey, I sound like a grumpy codger – that’s your job, Don.

          Now get off my damn lawn!

        • Don
          April 18, 2011 at 11:17 am #

          Wow, Jim. So much hostility for a Monday. Must not have been a very rejuvenating weekend.

        • April 18, 2011 at 11:27 am #

          What are you talking about? – I’m all fired up!!

      • April 18, 2011 at 11:26 am #

        Looks like we’re on the same page again, Jim! 🙂

  8. April 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Does this rant have anything to do with today being the IRS filing deadline? I was just curious.

    I’d love to take a stand on Brew Dog, but I’ve only had one of their beers, and I vaguely remember it being pretty good. I will agree that they are pretty expensive, so I doubt I’ll be buying any of their stuff anytime soon, especially when there are so many US craft beers that I have yet to try. As far as the stunt, I think the whole Royal Beer premise is pretty funny.

    • April 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      No – it’s not related to taxes. I always get that stuff done early. I want to make sure the country doesn’t run out of cash before I get my refund. 🙂

  9. April 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I’ve only had a few of their beers so I probably shouldn’t chime in quite yet (I’d stop off on the way to my Passover Seder tonight to pick up a handful more to “research” during dinner but I doubt any of them would pair well with matzo ball soup or gefelte fish and, anyway, my family needs no new reasons to think me odd).

    I paid little attention to Brew Dog until they hooked up with Stone for the Bashah collaboration. I’m an admitted Stone groupie so the fact that Greg Koch thought highly enough of Brew Dog to work with them on a beer was in my craft beer-addled mind a stamp of approval. Bashah was OK – not special as I had hoped. Hardcore IPA and 5am Saint are pretty good. None of them made me yearn for more and all were overpriced.

    Brew Dog is using a shock marketing to good effect – their getting attention and selling much more beer based on their labels than they’d sell if the contents of the bottles were the primary factor in purchasing decisions. Where have we seen that dynamic before??? The macro swill brewers built their business model on marketing – not on brewing quality beer. Hard to blame Brew Dog for taking note but harder to justify space in the beer fridge for creative labels.

    Cheers!
    @TheAlemonger

    • April 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      I’d be curious to know how much of the Bashah pairing had to do with all the hype Brew Dog has created, along with the fact that they seem like cool guys (even if their PR stunts make me cranky). It might be that they are decent brewers and the Scotland thing is cool, plus Stone has an irreverent streak as well. The brands pair nicely.

      I like the comparison to the macro guys you make Mr. Monger. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I’m sure I’ll throw that one in the next time these guys set me off. 😉

  10. April 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    A practical question. How do you get permission to add Viagra to a beer? Does it not require a prescription in the UK?

    • April 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      I thought of that as well. Perhaps it’s V!@gr@ – you know the stuff you can get over the Internet! 🙂

  11. April 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Tasteless, unabashed promotion? Yep. But here they are getting good free press (again) from their #1 critic.

    Brew Dog 1 – Jim 0

    BTW, did you get my email?

    • April 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

      I tried to resist, but I can’t!! Not #winning!

      I didn’t see your email – let me check the spam file – crazy stuff winds up in there.

  12. April 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Jim, I really have to disagree with you. Your outrage at silliness is exactly what bothers them. Here in the US, we haven’t been deluged with a million fly-by-night products trying to make a quick buck on the Royal Wedding, but they have, and anger at that type of cheap stunt is exactly what motivated this move.

    Yes, it’s outlandish, but we don’t know that this beer is bad, and we do know that BrewDog cares about making good beer.

    All that said, I appreciate the point of this post… we all have an inner snob, and certain things just irk us. For me, it’s pointless profanity or chauvinism in ads; Intellectually, I know it’s not the end of the world if we have one more label with a naked deviless, but emotionally it drives me up a wall. So I get what you’re saying; we’ve all got buttons that, when pushed, shove us into crusty snob territory.

    • April 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      I’m with you Greg and understand their excuse – that everyone is trying to make a buck off of the royal wedding, so we’ll release this beer as a farce to show just how silly it all is. I didn’t put it in the post, because I don’t think they are sincere. Why? Look at their track record. Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Sink the Bismark, Nanny State, and now this (and I’m not sure I got them all). This isn’t their first time trying to create a spectacle.

      If Brew Dog didn’t have a history of grandstanding, I’d laugh this stunt off. As I said above, I’d think it was funny if Sam Calagione did it. But that’s because I know his agenda – make an honest buck brewing awesome beer. In the end, I know the crew at Dogfish works for the beer drinker. I’m not so sure with Brew Dog.

      But you nailed the takeaway – this pushes my buttons. Are they hurting anyone? Probably not. Do some folks enjoy their antics? Sure. It’s not like it’s the end of history…

      …oh yeah – the dead squirrels!!

      • April 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

        Really? You don’t think BrewDog’s in it for craft beer? As one other commenter alluded, they have a really solid reputation in the UK beer scene, and a lot of their beer is well-crafted. I see the stunts as just an outgrowth of their marketing, which is creative and furthers the cause of craft beer in Europe and the US.

        But then, I’m a sap for that stuff, so maybe I’m just seeing rose-colored publicity stunts.

        • April 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

          I honestly don’t know where they are coming from.

          Maybe it’s different viewed outside the lens of the U.S., but I kind of see them as a small Scottish brewer that makes above average beers (but nothing mind-blowing) that have decided to do whatever it takes to get the attention of young, male American craft beer buyers. Package a beer in a dead squirrel? Will Draft write about it? Will people know who we are? Done! Oh, the attention we’ll get!! Oh, yeah, is the beer we’re hyping any good? Uh…

          I say do it with your kettle, not with stunts. And if you can’t, then do you really deserve the attention?

          Not to beat it into the ground, but breweries like Dogfish Head, The Bruery, Jolly Pumpkin, Avery and even Stone could all do this stuff and I’d not care either way, because they have each proven their worth as brewers in their own ways. Brew Dog hasn’t, at least in my eyes. So I see this as them trying to take a shortcut to the big leagues when they haven’t shown they belong.

          Or they could just be a bunch of fun-loving Scots who brew decent beer and like to do silly stuff. I honestly don’t know, but their approach has set off my BS detector.

        • Don
          April 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

          Oh my, there is a Penguin on the teley…

  13. April 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Jim, you seem to be concentrating on the odd stunt the guys have done and not the ongoing beer-making. Now, it would be a dull world if everyone liked the same beers but while they have done many stunts, they’ve backed that up with a) a philosophy to make good, varied beers and b) a keen earnestness.

    When they started out, they were two lads in a warehouse making beer in a country where Stella or Pironi was considered as good as it gets for most. They faced a ton of challenges at the start – no one would stock or try their products (Scotland especially is the land of the ‘buy the big discounted lager this week’) but they kept going, the believed in themselves and they’ve made a success of it, now employing 30 or so people.

    Along the way they’ve made some enemies – they’ve spoke about the hypocrisy of the likes of The Portman Group, they’ve called out other brewers for being dull and non-imaginative (in marketing and beer making) and they take chances in their beers.

    And now they’ve branched into pubs in an age when people say pubs are dying.

    I can understand why you might not like some of the publicity they do but a) the guys are earnest about beer and b) they’re the only beer company that gets newspaper coverage like this – the rest get no (or very little) coverage, so good on them for getting their products seen.

    (disclaimer: I used to work with the guys but the above isn’t influenced by that. I think they’ve made some great beers and some not-so-great ones)

    • April 19, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks, Craig. I think this is a case of perception. I don’t know these guys at all, so all I have to go by is what I see in the public space. What I’ve seen makes me feel that Brew Dog cares more about shocking publicity than making great beers (based on their actions, releasing TNP even though it is awful, now this farce, etc.).

      I’m pretty sure I’d be singing a different tune if I knew them like you do, but this goes to show that there’s a downside to being too aggressive with your marketing stunts.

  14. April 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    More to add to the argument: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/the-douche-duo-of-products

    • April 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      HA – now it’s become a glut of wanna-be bloggers who want to cash in on more followers by bashing BrewDog! Ye Olde Douche-bag Decree? Wow – spoken like a true douchebag…

      • April 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

        Just remember, I’ve been a bitchy douchebag about Brew Dog from the beginning.

        I’m an O.D. (Original Douchebag!)

  15. Ian Prise
    May 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Having actually drunk the beer in question I found it to be actually very good. Seems to me that a lot of the people commenting on this blog need a sense of humor transplant.

    Their beers are actually very good. Admittedly they may seem expensive in the U.S. and with so many good craft brewers, you have a much greater and cheaper choice.

    In the UK, for me they are making some of the best beer available. Nanny state for what it is is a tremendous beer. Malty, hoppy and 0.5%abv. Sink the Bismark is also actually very good as well. Everthing in between is actually really rather good as well.

    They are now opening bars. Currently Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and as well as their own beer sell beers from other craft brewers around the world. Last week we had a meet the brewer night with Greg Koch and 13 Stone beers on tap in Edinburgh. A few months ago we had The Tomme, with about 10 of his beers on tap in Aberdeen. Aberdeen also had Mikkeller and Nonge O on tap on the same night less than a month after opening.
    If Brewdog were considered to be substandard brewers why would these visiting brewers spend their time, promoting their beers along side Brewdogs.

    Judge Brewdog on the quality of their beer. Not the style of their marketing, especially if you have no sense of humour.

    • May 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      I think most of us have a pretty solid sense of humor in these parts, Ian. That said, I agree with you – Brew Dog makes some of the best beers in the U.K., but we have many as good and I’d say superior selections over here.

  16. martin
    April 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Their beer is a bit mad, but the world needs people like this, the 77 lager is a brilliant drink and is my favourite, i first came across them at the camden site, and that place was packed,we spent about 4 hours there and came out still able to stand.

    lots and lots of choices no nutters rolling around the floor rat arsed. you dont have to go bonkers on the amount of TNP or bismark that you consume just because of the %, they actually have very distinct tastes which made a lot of us drink in a rather more relaxed way than sinking normal pints, especially with their food platters, the cheese board was our best of the night with a nice fragrant beer.

    i say carry on Brewdog

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. In Defense of BrewDog « Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement - June 24, 2011

    […] Some like to criticize BrewDog for being putting more hype than hops in their beers. The attitude displayed in their copy and graphic design suggest a similar arrogance found in that of Stone but without the great product to back it up. BrewDog often goes for the gimmick with their insanely high ABV beers like Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%), Sink the Bismark (41%), or The End of History (55%). There’s also the insanely low ABV brew Nanny State that comes in at a whopping 1.1% ABV. Such stunts cause the skeptical beer nerd to be…well…skeptical. […]

  2. Three Attempts at Beer-Nerd Humor | FirstWeFeast.com - April 26, 2013

    […] gracious, and fun-loving, humor is not its strongest suit. Sure, there are amusing beer labels and brewery hijinks that cause a chuckle from time to time, but attempts at beer-nerd humor are often, well, pretty […]

  3. Can “Brew Dogs” thrive where “Brew Masters” failed? | Beer & Whiskey Bros. - July 24, 2013

    […] like Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Sink the Bismark (featuring roadkill stuffed with bottles), and Royal Virility Performance, a beer brewed with Viagra to celebrate the “first night” of William and Kate […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: