It’s a subscription site, so I can’t read anything more than the first two paragraphs of this Financial Times article, but those first two grafs are excellent:
The industry body that monitors the promotion and sale of alcohol has accused a Scottish microbrewery of marketing a beer that glamorises drugs.
“Shelves across the UK are being cleared of Speedball beer because it is promoting the illegal drugs mix that killed the Hollywood stars John Belushi and River Phoenix,” the industry-funded Portman Group claimed yesterday.
I think John Belushi is in heaven (or hell, wherever) going, “Man, I made a ton of funny jokes and all you guys remember is that I overdosed. And thanks for bringing it up, Portman Group, in your quote about a British beer brand’s name.”
Apparently, “shelves across the UK are being cleared” means the beer is being taken off the market, not that people in the UK are all buying it to show their love for speedballs. (More from Professor Dan!: A speedball is a heroin and cocaine mix, FYI. Sometimes amphetamines replace cocaine. Mixing an upper with a downer, same idea as a rum and coke. It strains the heart and isn’t advisable; mixing drugs is generally something one should not do on a whim. Quoth The Encyclopedia of Addictive Drugs: “[C]ombining stimulants with depressants can give the human body quite a beating.”)
I found another story on this thing, and it actually continues to be pretty funny:
BrewDog director Martin Dickie described the criticism as idiotic, saying the firm only produced 5,000 bottles of the beer to hit back at the Portman Group over its threat to ban three other BrewDog beers, which were later cleared.
Mr Dickie said: “The Portman Group were picking on us for no reason and we were fed up. It was deliberately slightly provocative to give them something to complain about so they can justify their existence in what they were doing to us and wasting everybody’s time and effort.
“This is a drink which, in the UK, had a release of 1,184 bottles and cost £3 a bottle, so Speedball is for those who enjoy a quality beer responsibly and enjoy a premium drink at a premium price. You can still buy 24 cans of strong lager for less than £10. That is the real problem here, not a small brewery producing a run of 5,000 beers which will mostly be sold in specialist beer shops.
“The beer is called ‘Dogma’ in America and that was what we always intended to call Speedball here after its first run had finished,” added Mr Dickie.
I also just really like the idea that, in essence, the people who sell one drug (alcohol) are preventing the promotion of a competitor. Hey, these are tough economic times.