The brewing giant announced that all profits from their No Label sales are to be donated to events organiser Queerest of the Queer, which will then be used to support LGBTQI+-oriented organisations and aid transgender youth communities.
Brewdog say the beer was brewed to 'blur the boundaries between the binary worlds of lager and ale' and draws parallels with individuals who identify themselves in a similar ‘non-binary’ way, as neither exclusively male nor female.
The brewer also worked with Charles Faram to source Jester hops – a varietal naturally prone to altering sex whilst growing - and used some of this type of hop to brew the beer in a bid to 'add diversity, rather than restrict it.'
Dr J, Queerest of the Queer's co-founder, said the partnership was a natural coming together of similar organisations: "Inclusivity is a huge deal for us, and is at the heart of everything we do. When we met the BrewDog team recently, we discussed what it means to live beyond the L and G in LGBTQI+, and delved deeper into the areas where labels don’t really translate anymore. BrewDog was super responsive and respectful and we could see their approach to diversity and inclusivity in brewing is pretty close to what it means to Queerest of the Queer."
Many greeted No Label with optimism applauding Brewdog on their dedication to shining a light on a community of people that is still largely under-acknowledged by society.
However, there was a strong backlash from large sections of the LGBTQI+ community and beyond as to what they believe is a move that is misguided at best and exploitative and damaging at worst.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for LGBT advocacy group Stonewall said in an interview with the Independent: “While it’s encouraging to see BrewDog raising money for trans youth communities, and we like the ‘No Label’ concept, we’re concerned about the language. The trans community is diverse – many trans people do not transition, or identify with binary genders, and BrewDog’s language undermines that.”
However, online magazine The Mary Sue’s weekend editor Jessica Lachenal was far more scathing in her assessment: "Day in and day out trans people have to fight to have their identities recognized and respected.
"It’s hard enough to be seen as a person, so to take our very identity and apply it to a thing, a product… it’s sickening. The work being put into this struggle never ends, and it’s because of really disappointing ad campaigns and marketing stunts like this."
Those who were against the release have also cited Brewdog's recent marketing activity, including a recent advert that many have claimed was transphobic and saw thousands of people sign a petition to get that advert taken down.
Brewdog CEO James Watt has defended the beer saying: “People have got to look at what we’ve done here. We’ve worked with the charity Queerest of the Queer to put this together. They co-designed the packaging, they worked with us on the project, we’re donating all the proceeds of sales of this beer to charity.”
So what do you think? Is the No Label campaign a good thing that raises awareness of a community of people that is still largely under-acknowledged by society as well as raising much needed funds for charity? Or is it simply a misguided marketing ploy that does more harm to the aforementioned community than good?