A Dallas brewery sparked intense debate â and drew international attention â over sexual innuendo in the slogan for Dallas Blonde ale: âGoes down easy.â
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. sells the beer in cans with an illustration of a blond doll. This month, it unveiled its new hot-pink delivery van with a super-sized version of the illustration and slogan.
The companyâs Facebook post about the van generated discussion on social media, blogs and news outlets as far away as England and Australia.
Some said the slogan contributes to ârape cultureâ by linking alcohol with sex. Others laughed it off, slammed political correctness or made jokes of their own.
The breweryâs owner, John Reardon, said Wednesday that he âwas completely blown awayâ by the backlash. Reardon said heâs not going to pull the beer label but will cover up the advertising on the van until it can be replaced.
He said the slogan was about the smooth-tasting beer with a dose of sexual innuendo and is not a rape joke.
âIt was meant to get a chuckle at best, an eye roll at worst,â he said. âI knew it would catch some flak, but never to this extent.â
Reardon noted that he received some supportive phone calls but said critical ones have made him think. âIâve never heard of ârapeâ and âcultureâ put in the same sentence before last week. Iâve learned quite a bit,â he said. âGetting this information and having this brought to my attention is awakening.â
Reardon posted an apology last week on the breweryâs website.
Some critics said the beer slogan demeans and objectifies women and contributes to a culture of sexual violence.
A similar slogan was used last year to promote a Polish vodka. Belvedere Vodka ran an ad that showed a man grabbing a panicked-looking woman from behind with the slogan: âUnlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.â
The company pulled the ad and made a donation to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, according to news reports.
Early this month, Minibar, a bar in downtown Austin, got flak over a message on its sidewalk chalkboard. The message said âI like my beer like I like my violence: domestic.â
The bar apologized, fired the employee responsible and said it would donate $1 to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for each domestic beer it sells in October.
Bobbie Villareal, executive director of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, said she was disappointed by the Dallas Blonde slogan when she read about it on an Australian news website. She said it plays on tired sexist stereotypes and it links sex to alcohol, which she called âthe number one date rape drug.â
âItâs embarrassing,â Villareal said. âItâs stereotyping what people think of women in Dallas.â
âI donât think Iâm super sensitive. But as a mother and a woman and someone connected to the issue, I think it was done in bad taste.â
Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said she hopes customers will stop buying beer from Deep Ellum Brewing Co. until the label is changed.
âIâd like to see it start impacting their bottom line,â she said.
âFor years, people have accused others of not having a sense of humor when making racist jokes,â Burrhus-Clay said. âItâs always âYou people donât have a sense of humor.â Maybe, weâve gotten smarter and more politically correct about other things, but women are still fair game.â