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Castle Rock's Elsie Mo: popular beer brand now honours the unsung Air Transport Auxiliary.

Elsie Mo rebrand flies into flak

Nottingham brewer Castle Rock has for a second time rebranded its Elsie Mo golden ale to escape allegations of sexism, reimagining the 1940s-style pin-up as a Second World War pilot in the unsung Air Transport Auxiliary.

“It’s time to acknowledge that the sexualised presentation of Elsie Mo is deemed not acceptable in a culture that strives for, and celebrates, equality,” the brewer said at the time.

But while the move, which was instituted in January, was universally praised within the industry, Castle Rock has been shocked by a number of abusive comments on social media and in the comment sections of online newspapers.

A lot of the negative comments used the rebrand as a springboard to launch into a tirade against feminism and 'political correctness' in general.

Some vowed never to buy Castle Rock's beers again. One hoped sales would "crash and burn". The brewer is accused, too, of "pandering to the left".

Missing the point entirely, one Facebook comment complained that "the old pump clip was sexier".

The Jolly Brewer pub in Stamford, however, declared it would resume ordering the beer as a result of the change, while Castle Rock's former managing director Julian Grocock took the opportunity to offer his congratulations and admit he was "once a little too sexist."

Castle Rock marketing executive Liv Auckland acknowledged, “There have been some extreme, insulting things said about us, and there are those who have been angry at what they call ‘political correctness.’

“But there is not much substance to the negative comments and we haven’t seen any legitimate arguments to revert to the original designs.”

She noted that most responses, from men and women alike, described the rebrand as a great decision.

“The most interesting comments have been about the ATA women themselves. They were an amazing bunch of women whose achievements have been obscured by their male counterparts, and people think it’s cool to celebrate them.”

Phil Mellows
12th March 2018

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