Last month, we highlighted three beers with alcohol contents above 18%. For the most part, these beers created little controversy, despite stuffing a six-pack’s worth of alcohol into a single bottle. Enter Scotland’s BrewDog, a craft brewer that drew the ire of industry watchdogs in the United Kingdom with their Tokyo* oak aged stout. Alcohol Focus Scotland called the 18.2% alc./vol. beer “irresponsible,” and a member of the Scottish Parliament even submitted a motion condemning the brewery. BrewDog responded to these UK critics with Nanny State, a 1.1% alc./vol. “mild imperial ale.” The label has this to say:
At BrewDog we appreciate your inability to know your limits – especially when it comes to alcohol – which is why we’ve created Nanny State.
This idiosyncratic little beer is a gentle smack in the right direction.
Please note: BrewDog recommends that you only drink this beer whilst wearing the necessary personal protective equipment and in a premises that has passed a full health and safety risk assessment for optimum enjoyment.
The name, absurdly low alcohol content and label combine to create a witty riff on alcohol beverage policy. And it may well be a great public relations move for a small brewer — taking a well-publicized swipe at critics with a marketable product, rather than words alone.
Although the fight over Tokyo* in the UK appears to have cooled down, the product faced resistance in the US, but for a different reason altogether. BrewDog has previously explained (on their blog, post no longer accessible) that TTB viewed the brand name as potentially misleading as to origin. And so Tokyo* became Tokio*, but without any fuss over the alcohol content.
No word yet on whether Nanny State will make it to the US, or if Miller and Anheuser-Busch will suit up for the “weakness wars” and go lower, to 0.9% or so.