The Portman Group issued a Retailer Alert Bulletin (RAB) last week following the decision to maintain complaints that the Cornwall-based cidermakers product had an indirect association with sexual activity, causing widespread offence.
Depicting a partially nude bearded mermaid figurehead, the panel noted the word ‘maiden’ could relate to virginity or an unmarried young woman that alongside the products tagline, which is ‘search for the cherry’d treasure’, reinforced the innuendo linked to virginity.
In addition, the Panel also claimed the cider’s packaging illustrated “undue focus” on the mermaid’s body that further objectified the character and, to a certain extent, women more broadly.
For these reasons, the panel concluded that the product had an indirect association with sexual activity, which could cause widespread offence, and upheld the complaint under Code rule 3.2(d) and Code rule 3.3.
Independent Complaints Panel chair Nicola Williams said: “It was clear this product was damaging; promoting sexual stereotypes in this way is out of place with modern-day societal values.
“Producers all have a duty to consider how their products will be perceived, not only by their local community but the wider UK market in which the products are sold.
“I hope Bearded Brewery takes note of the reasons outlined by the panel for why this product clearly infringed the two code rules in question.”
The Portman Group stated the complaint the “severe sanction” was a result of the producers “failure to comply”.
This is the second product that has been banned for Bearded Brewery, which is in St Mawgan, with the brands ‘Suicyder’ offering, so called to raise awareness of men’s mental health, also previously disallowed.
Speaking to The Morning Advertiser when the complaint was in deliberation, co-founder Robbie Langouroux-Fay explained the name referred to the local coastal fishing community as the logo “clearly” depicted a pirate ship while the ‘cherry'd treasure’ pun was a nod to a pirates’ hunt for buried treasure, referencing the fact the cider is cherry flavoured.
He added: “The way they worded things is that Unshaven Maiden refers to people that would be seeking out young girls’ virginity and stuff like that. This is the year 2023, you can't roll those sorts of things to people and expect them to just accept it, and the way they worded it is very aggressive.
“Surely every cocktail lounge in the UK should be banned for all the different cocktail names. Slippery Nipple, Screaming Orgasm and Sex on the Beach are all of the normal names you hear in every cocktail lounge.
“We don't see those people being banned from making them, so why should we be? It seems to be one rule for one, another rule for another, and that's incredibly frustrating.”