Anyone with a slight interest in international news has probably heard about Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s stance on homosexuality. For those of you unaware, in June of 2013, Putin backed legislation that prohibits gay “propaganda” anywhere in Russia. This story received a ton of press then, and it’s back in the news again, as we’re nearing the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
According to the Telegraph, “The anti-propaganda law introduces fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for citizens who disseminate information aimed at minors ‘directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup’ or which may cause a ‘distorted understanding’ that gay and heterosexual relations are ‘socially equivalent,’ the official publication of the bill showed.”
This, of course, has sparked an international debate. But I’m not here to talk about that. Or express an opinion about it. I just wanted you to know a little bit about the law before I introduce this story about BrewDog’s new beer.
The Scottish beer maker has produced what many are calling the world’s first protest beer. The IPA, called “Hello My Name is Vladimir,” is brewed with citra hops and infused with limonnik berries, considered by some Russian hunters to enhance sexual performance in men. Coincidence? I think not.
Mocking Putin, who is often critiqued for his ultra-macho persona, BrewDog co-founder James Watt posed shirtless on a horse for the company’s blog post promoting the beer.
The post begins, “Hello, my name is Vladimir. I am a beer for uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives. I am a beer to mark the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I am not for gays. Love wrestling burly men on the Judo mat or fishing in your Speedos? Then this is the beer for you!”
Watt and company have not shied away from their stance on this legislation, and their true intentions with the beer. Watt writes, “The sick, twisted legislation brought about in Russia that prevents people from living their true lives is something we didn’t want to just sit back and not have an opinion on. Our core beliefs are freedom of expression, freedom of speech and a dogged (no pun intended) passion for doing what we love. Thus, we are donating 50% of the profits from this beer to charitable organisations that support like minded individuals wishing to express themselves freely without prejudice.”
Look, regardless of how you feel about the legislation, it’s pretty funny, and I applaud any individual or company willing to make a stand for what they believe in – no matter what that is. What do you guys think?