The beer internet was ablaze this week with another BrewDog incident. It wasn’t a marketing stunt this time — at least, not an intentional one. Manifest London, a design agency, accused BrewDog of lifting a product concept from the agency and using it for a new BrewDog product, a non-alcoholic beer called Punk AF.
The beer name is a play on BrewDog’s Punk IPA, and uses the “AF” acronym to denote “alcohol-free” as well as, one can presume, “as f*ck.”
BrewDog co-founder James Watt replied on Twitter with a comparison of the two can labels, saying that they are different.
Hey Alex! Manifest, did the work on left for us (whilst under retainer), we did the work on the right with a different agency. Not really the same……. pic.twitter.com/of8BcS8dOZ
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) May 9, 2019
The concepts are similar, but then, Manifest’s mockup also looks a lot like this product from Infinite Session, which also used the AF logo for an alcohol-free beer brand.
(Also, FWIW, my friends and I had an ongoing list of things that were “punk AF” and “not punk AF” in high school. Point is, this idea is not new.)
The plot thickens, though: Jenny Frankart, a woman whose Twitter account says she is based in Columbus, Ohio, where BrewDog has a location, started a fiery thread saying that she, too, was wronged by BrewDog.
In a series of tweets, Frankart alleges that she did work for the company during an interview process in 2017, and was not compensated for it. Watt denies that she was owed compensation.
As a former freelancer and current female, I am inclined to sympathize with a woman who says she was wronged by a corporate entity. But it’s hard to say whether BrewDog truly, legally wronged Frankart, or if she’s the victim of the interviewing system, rather than BrewDog or Watt himself.
I’m not saying it’s O.K. to force applicants to produce work they won’t be paid for — I think it’s bullsh*t — but it’s unfortunately the norm in creative fields. Many writers, designers, and others in the “gig economy” (actually, though, can we stop calling it that?) are expected to produce work during interview processes to prove they are a “fit” before the company hires. We are rarely paid for this work, if ever.
It’s really up to the interviewee to determine whether the opportunity is worth the time and effort, whether they are being seriously considered as a candidate or strung along, and whether they have the freedom to engage in such a process.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done. And trust me, I’ve jumped through my fair share of hoops for the sake of a paycheck, or the hope for one. But intellectual property is tricky business. BrewDog is certainly no stranger to making things complicated. (Remember BrewDog Airlines’ malfunctioning toilets?)
Craft Beer Gets Another Beard (Award)
American craft beer pioneer Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing, was awarded the James Beard Award for the 2019 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer at the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards in Chicago, CraftBeer.com reports.
Tod founded Allagash in 1995, and introduced Portland, Me., and eventually U.S. beer drinkers to Belgian-style wheat ale with the brewery’s now-infamous Allagash White.
Previous James Beard Award-winning brewers include Sam Calagione, co-founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (2017); Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery (2014); and Fritz Maytag III, founder of Anchor Brewing (2003, 2008).
Tod’s win, and continuation of brewer representation in this prestigious award, help prove what most of us already know: that beer deserves a place at the table.
Battle of the Brands: Yuengling vs. Anchor
Anyone who knows a thing or two about American craft beer knows Anchor Steam, the flagship brand of Anchor Brewing. The brand has been a point of pride for the brewery for decades, so much so that consumers often mistake the name of the brewery for Anchor Steam.
But D.G. Yuengling & Son, a.k.a. Father Time, points out that D.G. Yuengling’s “other” son, David Jr. (not Frederick, who was a partner in the brewery), started a brewery called James River Steam Brewery in Richmond, Va., in the late 1800s.
But here’s the thing: No one knows that. (Unless, of course, you read the “12 Things You Should Know About Yuengling” article I wrote last week.) I’m with Anchor (Steam) on this one.