The booze censors strike again as they believe the name of a cider will push drinkers to take their own lives.
The always humourless Portman Group – the self-appointed alcohol censors in the UK who seek to ensure that all booze is packaged and promoted in as bland a fashion as possible – are at it again. This time, they’ve taken exception to Suicyder from The Bearded Brewery, an admittedly provocatively named cider that a single member of the public took exception to. To quote the complaint:
“With their brand ‘Suicyder’, The Bearded Brewery is making a clear association between their product and a dangerous act that could inflict injury, harm or loss. Given that the highest risk group for suicide are men aged 25-34, I find the targeting and brand positioning of ‘Suicyder’ by The Bearded Brewery to be reckless and dangerous in the extreme.”
Suicyder does indeed push the limits of good taste (in packaging; I’ve no idea what the cider itself tastes like). The box features a skull shaped like an apple (or perhaps vice versa), with a rope and the slogan ‘juice from the noose”. It’s probably not going to appeal to everyone, but then, bad taste should never be a reason to ban anything. More to the point, it seems a real leap to say that anyone will decide to kill themselves based on a cider logo – this constant idea that people who have never considered suicide – or even those who have – will be pushed over the edge by a single image or word is an evidence-free assumption. And I very much doubt that the Bearded Brewery is in the business of pushing its customers into killing themselves, unless they really, really want to go out of business.
More to the point, as the brewery pointed out, it’s not even an original name – some 244 beers, ciders and breweries also use the name. It’s possible that the appalling suicide figures for young men are directly due to these brews, but it seems rather unlikely. And this particular Suicyder is not that widely available – as a specialist brew, you can’t find it in many stockists.
Still, the Portman Group have decided that the link between alcohol and suicide was irresponsible (though the same group insist on a link between alcohol and death being included on every label of every form of booze sold in the UK). They have demanded that the name and imagery be dropped.Once again, they have decided that you are too stupid to see the difference between a brand name and a instruction. Feel insulted? You should.
Admirably, the Bearded Brewery have told the Portman Group to do one – given that the only action taken against them is to tell licensees signed up to the Portman Group’s code of condust not to stock the drink any more, why shouldn’t they?
If you want to buy Suicyder – at your own risk, obviously – or even indulge in a Suicyder T-shirt, you can visit the brewery here. Don’t forget to tell them we sent you.
Thanks to Melon Farmers for tipping us to this.