Five Controversial Beer Labels

In a nation with 4000 + breweries all crying for shelf space and the money of thirsty drinkers. Great artwork on the label can help a fledgling brewery stand out. However, these brewers may have taken their cleverness a step too far. And designed a label that became more controversial than successful.

To read more on unconventional beer check our 5 Top Strange Beer Concepts.

Chicago Sweetwater Brewing – Imperial Stout

A beer label for the Chicago Sweetwater Imperial Stout.
Credit: https://patch.com/illinois/oaklawn/beer-seller-cant-stomach-bottle-featuring-asian-sex-worker

It’s no secret that beer companies use anything to sell beer. But sometimes the implications can be a little too obvious. As the founders of Chicago, Sweetwater Brewing found out with their happy ending Imperial Stout. Their labels for this brew featured images of geisha girls or a box of tissues and a description of the beer. It heavily implied much more than the explosion of flavor contained within the bottle.

Flying Dog IPA

Brewers don’t always have the most polished vocabulary and they’ve been known to use some curse words in their beer names. The Michigan Liquor Commission banned Flying Dog IPA. In the commission’s opinion, the name and accompanying label were harmful to any adult who might read the beer name on a restaurant menu.

Gandhi Bot IPA

A glass and a can of Gandhi Bot IPA
Credit: http://sites.law.duq.edu/juris/2015/12/03/international-bitterness-units/

IPAs have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years but while the beer style rebounded there seemed to be a major shortage of Indian puns on the labels themselves. Maybe that was for a good reason. Popular on beer trade forums Gandhi Bot IPA pays homage to an inspiring leader. Five years after it was first made the available word of the beer finally made its way to India. After several threats of a lawsuit, the name of the brew was changed to G Bot.

Duquesne Brewery – Joe Paterno

Normally a beer named after a college coach is a true honor. Worthy of a legendary campus hero. However, if that hero is Joe Paterno it can certainly sweep up some controversy. In 2012 the long-standing statue of Joe Paterno was removed from outside Beaver Stadium in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky incident. Many thought it would help the community move on but some still want to publicly remember Joe Paterno. Brewers at Duquesne brewery wanted to honor him with a legacy beer line. However, beer sparked a social media firestorm so it wasn’t finalized.

Malus Pater

Beer Malus Pater shows an incriminating act between a beer-swinging priest and a young boy. The shock in the midst of a seemingly unending stream of news relating to the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests. The beer label drew critics from around the world all aimed at a beer brewery in Denmark. Being able to bring uneasy feelings to 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide makes this probably one of the most controversial beer labels ever.

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