Scotland’s BrewDog is releasing a limited edition beer called My Name is Vladimir poking fun at Russia’s autocratic leader and slamming the state’s ‘sick, twisted’ legislation on homosexuality.
The brewer is no stranger to controversy, but has hit new heights here with the beer launch, while its website carries accompanying text that says: “Hello, my name is Vladimir. I am a beer for uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives.
“I am a beer to mark the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I am not for gays. Love wrestling burly men on the Judo mat or fishing in your Speedos? Then this is the beer for you!”
All of which, of course, is a little tongue-in-cheek, riffing as it does on Putin’s pastimes (the ones we see at least) outside of the office, as satirised by BrewDog co-founder James Watt in a series of photos scattered around this article.
Russia’s ‘sick, twisted’ legislation
Then BrewDog – which claims to have sent a crate of its unusual brew to Putin at the Kremlin – segues into something a bit more serious…
“The sick, twisted legislation brought about in Russia that prevents people from living their true lives is something we didn't want to just sit back and not have an opinion on,” BrewDog continues.
“Our core beliefs are freedom of expression, freedom of speech and a dogged (no pun intended) passion for doing what we love,” the brewer adds.
“Thus, we are donating 50% of the profits from this beer to charitable organisations that support like minded individuals wishing to express themselves freely without prejudice.”
‘We’ve sent a case to the Kremlin’
All of which rather overshadows BrewDog’s Sochi beer itself, a double IPA brewed with Limonnik berries, now selling on the firm’s website from £2.89 ($4.70) for a 330ml bottle.
“We heard they're great for improving sexual performance, so we've sent a case to the Kremlin as we suspect there is someone there who would appreciate a little helping hand,” BrewDog adds.
Take that Vladi – ouch! To be honest, I’ve not been BrewDog’s greatest fan in the past but must admit that this sort of thing takes guts.
Yes, it’s all grist to the viral marketing mill and will undoubtedly boost BrewDog’s profile and make them more money, but Putin (a former KGB Lieutenant Colonel, lest we forget) doesn’t seem like the kind of chap who likes laughing at himself.