The Man Who Sued Brewdog Because They Wouldn’t Serve Him A Pink IPA Made Himself The Butt Of The Joke

Congratulations sir, you played yourself

BrewDog Pink IPA beer

by Emily Baker |
Updated on

Every year it’s getting harder and harder to care about businesses’ cynical attempts to appeal to their female customer base via their newfound feminism. When Brewdog released their Pink IPA ‘for girls’ ahead of last year’s International Women’s Day, the move was greeted with a tired sigh rather than the outrage it probably deserved. We were too exhausted to engage. After having our subjugation packaged up and sold back to us as awareness-raising ‘sarcasm’ since what feels like time immemorial, sometimes it’s easier just to ignore.

Unfortunately it seems some men haven’t developed this useful sixth sense yet and were rather upset by Brewdog’s misguided attempt at calling out sexist advertising. One guy even took the company to court over the campaign... and won.

Dr Thomas Bower, a 27-year-old software engineer, has just successfully sued Brewdog for £1,000 and an apology because he was discriminated against on the basis of his gender when he was refused a Pink IPA because he was a man. The beer was sold at a lower price that the usual blue-canned Punk IPA, so you can’t blame him for wanting to save a few quid, but he really wanted that girly beer and went as far to ‘identify as female’ so he could get it – a move that’s extremely problematic in itself.

“After a bit of a back and forth with me protesting, I felt forced to identify as female and was then able to get the drink for £4,” Dr Bower explained to WalesOnline. “I complained to the company about this and they said it wasn't discrimination because the price difference was part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap.”

Dr Bower is obviously a clever man, but brains don’t always equal self-awareness and so he goes on to admit that he “wasn’t satisfied” with their explanation. In the court documents, he writes, “[I] felt forced to lie about my sex in order to receive the product at the lower price and told the bartender that I identified as female. The bartender then served me the drink at a price of £4.”

We have a choice when it comes to reacting to news like this. We can be angry and beat the battledrum against Dr Bower, against the judge who agreed Bower was the victim of discrimination without taking the (admittedly bad) campaign into account; or we can treat it as the hilarious joke it really is. A man who wanted to save £1 on a beer exerted copious time and energy on a court case, claiming discrimination on a campaign raising awareness about… discrimination. If that’s not a Reductress story playing out in real life then I don’t know what is.

It’s important to note that Dr Bower presumably isn’t an entirely bad person, just one who doesn’t understand when he’s gone too far. After taking his own costs into account (again, he paid to take Brewdog to court – lucky he had all extra pay gap money! Good job he saved that quid on his pink beer!) he donated his £1,000 to the Young Women’s Trust and CALM. He does admit that the gender pay gap exists, but thinks there should be a focus on “equal opportunities” than “equal outcome” (all well and good when you’re already winning the race, eh?). It’s not clear how he bends this argument to fit the idea that he should be able to benefit from a cheaper beer designed to balance up that gap, however.

The ardent enthusiasm some men hold for proving a point – regardless of how unclear that point is – shows just how little they have to deal with this nonsense on the daily. We pay pink tax on underwear, on razors, on clothes, on haircuts, on deodorant, on every toiletry ever, and let’s not even get into period products. How many times have you heard a man in a supermarket shout, “they’re so expensive!”’ down the phone to his girlfriend after sending him on an emergency tampon run. They don’t even think about it until they’re told they can’t have a £4 beer because, on average, they’re paid more than women.

It’s a similar story to the guy who spent so much time and effort creating a ‘de-feminised’ version of Avengers: Endgame. He’s edited out Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel completely, removed that really cringey scene where the female Avengers save Spider-Man and got rid of the scene where Hawkeye teaches his daughter how to shoot an arrow because “young women should learn skills to become good wives and mothers and leave the fighting to men.” Why? The only explanation I can think of is because he has nothing better to do.

The BrewDog campaign and Avengers: Endgame were almost solely created by men, so if Dr Bower and the aspiring film editor think they’re proving some sort of point about ‘reverse sexism’ they’re going completely the wrong way about it. They’re the only ones who are taking these sceptical attempts at feminism seriously anyway. Guys, go ahead, waste your time and money. We’ll be over here, dealing with the real issues

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