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Monday, February 03, 2014

When Naming Goes Awry (Follow-up)

Just before leaving the country, I commented on what appeared to be a beer named "Mouth Raper IPA" by Springfield's Hop Valley.  Although I didn't realize it at the time, it amounted to a fire in the hole that exploded about the time I hit Bristol, England.  The women's site Jezebel picked up the story (which I loved, incidentally), as did Eugene Weekly and a number of blogs. In the interest of closing the loop, here's a follow-up.  (Sorry to all who long ago tired of the issue.)

Let's start at the top.  Hop Valley was slow to respond, but they finally did, posting two comments on their Facebook page (1 and 2):
We have a series of draft beers named Mr. Orange, Mr. Black and Mr. IPA. It has come to our attention that an urban myth and street name has emerged surrounding Mr. IPA. We take this very seriously and are sensitive to these issues. Accordingly, we have pulled the product and are instructing our distributors to replace any remaining kegs with other offerings. We apologize for any harm or misunderstandings this has created.
We have not given any of our beers street names. The beer in question’s only name is Mr. IPA, and is part of our pilot series including Mr. Black & Mr. Orange.
This in turn provoked a fair amount of discussion (click through to see what people wrote at Facebook). 

This whole thing is pretty mystifying.  I applaud Hop Valley for the apology, but the whole business about saying the name never existed is odd.  If you click through those links, you'll see a lot of evidence for it.  And if it never existed, why is Hop Valley apologizing, exactly?  And what's a street name? 

I think the discussion the incident provoked was valuable.  For the most part, people conducted themselves pretty well.  I know some people were unsatisfied with the way Hop Valley handled this--and it was, admittedly, not particularly adroit--but let's give them the all clear.  They don't defend the name and apologized, which is good enough for me.  I'll be happy to order up a Czech Your Head the next time I see it. 

Oh, and note to breweries.  If you find yourself in a situation like this in the future, go back and look at how Burnside Brewing handled a similar incident.  That should be your blueprint.


  1. Funny that you bring up Burnside Brewery's apology, yet they still have that sexist logo. Have they given any thought to that?

  2. Labels for beer is approved by the TTB (tax and trade bureau) but I think for bottling or canning. So brewery probably get away from that by selling only through pints and growlers such is the case with Big Beaver Brewing in Loveland CO. Their logo is quite suggestive as are the names of the beers like Weiner Wheat, on t-shirts the dachshund is placed in a sexual manner for female t's. The owner of Big Beaver isn't planning on canning or bottling so he doesn't care. Check the website and you'll see what I mean.

  3. beer + politics/religion = hate11:22 AM, February 04, 2014

    "I know some people were unsatisfied with the way Hop Valley handled this--and it was, admittedly, not particularly adroit--but let's give them the all clear."
    So big of you, Jeff. The earth can go back to revolving now that you have given your permission.

  4. b+p/r=h, I see you're surprised that a blogger has given an opinion. I'd like to introduce you to this newfangled thing called "the internet."

  5. Note: I just deleted a trollish comment from the commenter b+p/r=h. Dissent is always welcome. Pointless, personal, anonymous attacks are not. b+p/r=h, if you have an actual comment you'd like to make, go ahead and do it. Your animus toward the blogger is noted.

  6. Jeff all I said was that your reply to me was unimaginative and condescending. Is that not factually true? Reread your reply. It was probably uncool of me to add that unimaginative and condescending replies are your sweet spot and that is 99% not true. I do apologize for adding in the last part. It was not necessary.

    You have a great blog in many ways. That is why I read it. There is one aspect of it that is disappointing to me. You seem to cherry pick your moral condemnations. Two businesses were singled out with your propagating of the “Mouth Rape”. Fine. Maybe people need to be taken down for the greater moral advancement of society.

    But here is the real kicker. You link to the Jezebel post and claim, “which I loved, incidentally”. Twice in the article the writer uses the phrase “Jesus Fu@*ing Christ” (spelled all the way out). How is that not blasphemy of the highest level? A true insult to one of the major world religions. That is acceptable but a half-hidden beer name is not? That’s the part I find troublesome. Having your blogger opinions is fine. Broadcasting yourself as a hypocrite to the masses of internet readers seems an odd thing to do. Especially when you up the ante with controversial topics and bringing peoples business and livelihood into the equation.

  7. b+p/r=h,

    That was a fine and meaty reply, and you make good points. I felt I needed to be transparent about my feelings on the issue since I introduced the topic. If you look at the many comments in the various media, many people were calling for boycotts and excoriating Hop Valley in pretty stark terms. I didn't want people to have the impression that I endorsed that.

    The reason your comment got deleted is because over the course of two comments you essentially flamed me and added zero content. Name-calling alone is just bad form. When you spell things out, people can see where you're coming from. I appreciate you taking the time to make your actual views known.

  8. Isn't Burnside's logo a sprite or some sort of other mythical creature? It has a tail. In fact, upon closer inspection, I'm not even sure you can tell the creature's gender. Some people are just looking to be offended by things. Thanks for bringing up some false equivalency, sabes.

  9. Thanks for linking my post and digging into the history of the Mr. IPA name!