Cloudwater criticised over collaboration with ‘sexist’ brewery

By James Beeson contact

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Ally in equality: Cloudwater's Paul Jones said he was not aware of J Wakefield’s 'sexist' branding
Ally in equality: Cloudwater's Paul Jones said he was not aware of J Wakefield’s 'sexist' branding

Related tags: Brewing, Brewery

Manchester craft beer brewery Cloudwater Brew Co has been criticised for collaborating with a US brewery that features “sexist branding” on its pumpclips and cans.

Beer writer Melissa Cole took to Twitter to share her anger, after the brewery posted a photo of its team at J Wakefield Brewing in Miami, Florida.

Replying to Cloudwater, Cole said: “Great, could you have a word with them about this appalling sexist branding while you’re there then please?”

Cole then proceeded to call Cloudwater out publicly, stating: “This brewery has an appalling record of sexist branding, why are you tacitly condoning this by collabing (sic) with it?”

Other Twitter users shared images of J Wakefield designs, which heavily feature provocatively dressed women.

The criticism comes days after Cloudwater publicly welcomed “the sound of the death gargle of sexism, misogyny, homophobia”, within the beer industry.

In a pinned Twitter thread​ on the brewer's profile, Cloudwater said: “Let’s make 2018 the year the beer scene wakes up, and welcomes everyone to an ever-more enlightened, progressive culture. If you’re pushing for progress and change in your local, town, or country, know we and many others like us have got your back.”

J Wakefield to replace artwork

J Wakefield has since announced it will change the artwork for one of the designs in question – a move believed to have been inspired by conversations with Cloudwater. In a post on its Instagram page, the brewery apologised, saying it recognised “people’s sensibilities are changing and rightfully so”.

In a blog post​ on Cloudwater's website, co-founder and managing director Paul Jones welcomed the move, and said he remained “intent on developing, promoting, and supporting ever greater inclusivity from brewhouse to tap room and beyond”.

“We are a brewery serving an ever-developing and diversifying community, both locally and globally, not only through our beer, but through our ideals, and our values,” he continued. “I am delighted to see J Wakefield Brewing evolve following [a] conversation that cut through to the core of our values today, and distance themselves from beer artwork that fails to wholly represent the care they otherwise live out in their daily work.

“I am happy to support their efforts to avoid every future risk of limiting inclusivity in beer for the sake of everyone out there who is yet to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities we hold so dear to our hearts.”

Misogyny ‘no longer tolerated’

Melissa Cole told The Morning Advertiser​: ”I’ve known Paul for a number of years and I believe he is an ally in the fight for equality and that the agreement to do the collaboration was before he’d seen the branding on this particular range of beers.

“He could have run away, he could have sat in the sun in Miami and hoped the social media storm would fade away, instead he went back into the J Wakefield brewery and had what I’m sure was a hard conversation with them: they listened, they heard and they are amending their branding accordingly.”

Cole continued: “We don’t always get things right, and I do wish J Wakefield had listened to the the multiple voices before mine and Paul’s that this branding was sexist and offensive, but sometimes a face-to-face conversation will do what a thousand Instagram comments can’t.

“I sincerely hope this move signals to other breweries in the UK, US and beyond, that this kind of misogyny isn’t going to be tolerated any more – as Oprah said at the Golden Globes the other evening, ‘Time’s Up’.”

In November 2017, Jaega Wise, head brewer of London's Wild Card Brewery, called for beers featuring sexist imagery to be banned from entering​ competitions organised by the Campaign for Real Ale and The Society of Independent Brewers.

Related topics: Beer

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