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BrewDog sparks global debate with world’s first protest beer, Hello My Name is Vladimir

BrewDog has made a name for itself producing campaigns no other brewery would dare to do, and their latest beer, ‘Hello My Name is Vladimir’, is no different. Dubbed ‘the world’s first protest beer’, Hello My Name is Vladimir satirising Russia’s anti-gay laws, openly declaring the beer is ‘not for gays’.

With agency Manifest London, the outspoken Scottish brewery released the 8.2% craft beer ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics to optimise traction in the press. Manifest developed a design for the bottle that carries an image of the Russian premier wearing make up, and the tongue in cheek slogan was turned into an immensely successful hashtag #notforgays. The incendiary copy on the bottle declares, “I am 100% hetero and will pass laws to prove it” and warns the beer, “may contain traces of sarcasm and protest”.

James Watt and Martin Dickie

In case all of this hadn’t amplified the idea enough, BrewDog’s James Watt also did a topless photoshoot on a horse (a la Putin), with co-founder Martin Dickie dressed in moustache and Russian style fur hat. 50% of the profits from the sale of the beer will go to international human rights charities combating the oppression of minorities.

Hello My Name is Vladimir

BrewDog’s online community and press reacted with unanimous support for the ballsy stance of the brewers (no pun intended), with tens of thousands of tweets of protest using the #notforgays hashtag so far, and hundreds of articles appearing all over the world, from the Wall Street Journal to the Moscow Times.

Ready for Putin

James Watt commented in the launch release: “We sincerely hope that when Vladimir Putin is tired from a busy day riding horses with his top off, grappling with burly men on the Judo mat or fishing in his Speedos, he reclines on a velvet chaise longue and has one of his handsome helpers wet his whistle with a glass of Hello My Name is Vladimir.”

Putin's package

The BrewDog boys also sent a case to the Kremlin – but they are apparently still waiting for their thank you note and invitation to ride bareback with Mr Putin in the Siberian mountains…

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Helen Kenny is a Junior Account Manager at Manifest London. She tweets from @helen_kenny.