beer

"Bitter Woman," brewed by Tyranena Brewing Co. in Lake Mills, is their Wisconsin variation of an India Pale Ale, calling it "intensely bitter (hence the name) with a mightly hop flavor and aroma."

Though larger breweries are more often seen trotting out sexist ad campaigns, some local craft breweries have raised eyebrows with their risqué beer names and labels.

Names like “Drop Dead Blonde,” “Baby Got Bock,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and an image of a girl getting her swimsuit bottoms pulled on by a pup (“Coppertun”) can be seen on liquor store shelves around Madison. Local beer writer Julia Burke compiled an extensive list of such beers in a December article.

“I think it’s coming from those breweries (that) are dominated by men who are insecure with their masculinity and they like to flaunt sexual innuendo,” said Deb Carey, co-founder of New Glarus Brewing. “They’re appealing to the lowest common denominator.”

Those who have been called out push back, saying it’s all in good fun.

“The labels that they took offense to were in our Brewers Gone Wild! series. They’re more provocative beers, and sometimes have more provocative names. Those probably show my sense of humor more than anything,” said Rob Larson, founder and brewmaster at Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills.

Tyranena has beers called “HopWhore,” “Bitter Woman,” “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Spank Me Baby!”

“Our intention is to never really be offensive,” said Stacey Schraufnagel, front operations manager at the brewery. “It’s always the intention of being humorous and a little out there and creative, but never with the actual intention of being offensive.”

“I have never seen a beer label that I have been offended by,” said Jamie Baertsch, brewmaster at Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company. “I get the joke. I don’t see the problem (with) using beautiful women to sell beer. Yes, beer, women and sexuality are intertwined, but I would rather celebrate the three than have a society that thought women should cover and hide their bodies and be mute about their sexuality.”

But, for some, the sexuality on offer on those beer labels isn’t about empowerment — it’s about objectification.

“You are not going to sell me beer with... sexual conquest implications, or by calling me a whore and flaunting boobs and butts,” said Robyn Klinge, creator of Madison’s Females Enjoying Microbrews (FEM) tasting group. “It’s immature, insulting, and a bad business move to boot: by using sexist labels, breweries are automatically alienating 50 percent of their potential market.”

— Laurel White

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