World’s first ‘transgender beer’ launched by BrewDog
By Rich Leigh on Thursday, November 5, 2015
Craft beer brewing troublemakers BrewDog have released the world’s first ‘transgender beer’.
The 4.6 per cent ABV beer, called No Label, will go on sale at the opening night of BrewDog’s latest venue in Soho on November 6, having been produced using hops that have undergone a ‘sex change’ prior to harvest.
The idea for the campaign is based on the fact that, during the brewing process, Jester hops are naturally prone to changing sex.
Here’s a bit more about what happens (note, not my words – taken from this Telegraph piece and probably the press release):
Only female hop plants are used in brewing, with male hop bines discarded because flowers do not grow into the full cones usually required. But craft ale firm BrewDog worked with a hop farmer to obtain bines that had undergone this change and grown male flowers. The brewers say it was important to incorporate these hops into the brewing process to add diversity, rather than discard them.
Profits will go to LGBT events organisation Queerest of the Queer, which aims to celebrate the diversity and talent of LGBT Londoners. By going on sale in Soho, BrewDog say this is a step to ‘take back’ an area previously renowned for its diversity. Queerest of the Queer plan to donate the funds to a variety of chosen charities supporting young people struggling with gender identity issues.
The campaign, which has seen a good spread of coverage in nationals and leading LBGT titles including Gay Times and Pink News, has been cleverly timed in my opinion. You could say there’s an element of taking something ‘trendy’ to write about and leaning on that for PR gain, but, a) we all do that (hands up who fashioned something around the release of James Bond) and b) it’s been done delicately enough, noting that the hops sex change happens naturally in the course of brewing – “We have used these to emphasise that, just like humans, beer can be whatever the hell it wants to be, and proud of it,” said BrewDog co-founder James Watt – and done with a strong enough charity hook, that only the most reactionary, perpetually-offended types could possibly take umbrage.