In March 2018, Dr Thomas Bower asked to buy the beer company’s Pink IPA, which was offered a discounted price of £4 for customers who identify as female.
However, the 27-year-old said that after a “back and forth” with the bartender, he felt “forced” to identify as female so that he could purchase the drink.
Bower subsequently complained to the company who insisted he had not experienced sex discrimination because the price difference was part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap.
The drink was launched ahead of International Women's Day as part of BrewDog’s “Beer for Girls” campaign which aimed to “expose sexist marketing to women, particularly within the beer industry.”
According to BrewDog, the Pink IPA was their “overt parody on the failed, tone-deaf campaigns that some brands have attempted in order to attract women.”
At the time of the complaint, BrewDog’s traditional Punk IPA continued to be sold to customers who identify as male for £5.
Not satisfied with the response, Bower decided to take Brewdog to court where he claimed for damages and an apology for “direct discrimination and breach of the Equality Act 2010”.
In a transcript of the court proceedings, District Judge Phillips said: “In my judgment, it is clear that in this case the claimant has been directly discriminated against by the defendant because of his sex.
"The fact that by identifying as female he was still able to purchase a Pink IPA makes no difference. I accept what Dr Bower says, namely that identifying as female was the only way he could purchase a Pink IPA at a cost of £4."
Mr Phillips added that Dr Bower would have felt "humiliated" and it was "not a pleasant experience for him", Wales Online reports.
In response, BrewDog said that its Pink IPA was “sold to those identifying as women and was offered at a reduced price of 20%, on the basis of this being the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom".
It added that as soon as Bower claimed he identified as female, he was able to purchase the Pink IPA.
Following the launch of its “Beer for Girls” campaign in 2018, a number of Twitter users claimed the brand had missed the mark.
“How does copying sexism subvert it?” one person wrote.
Another added: “I really don’t see how it tackles sexism or the gender pay gap. Doesn't this label and name just perpetuate sexism further?”
Sarah Warman, BrewDog global head of marketing, said at the time: “With Pink IPA, we are making a statement the only way we know how - with beer.
“The love of beer is not gendered. Beer is universal. Beer is for everyone.”
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