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The Hazards Of Beer Naming And Other Musings

Public Domain

It’s beer week here at KLCC, a time when Oregon brewing and beer culture come into focus.

Clever beer names are abundant in the industry.  Some breweries take things a step further, using religiously insensitive or sexualized names.  For example, Polygamy Porter from Utah or “La Tite Pute” or "The Little Slut" from Quebec.  

This issue has hit home recently.  Allegations emerged on the pop-culture website “Jezebel” that one of Hop Valley’s beers had been referred to behind-the-scenes by a name glorifying sexual violence.  The Springfield-based brewery issued a statement denying they originated the street name and apologizing for any “harm or misunderstanding.”  The brewery pulled the beer from sale.  One of the partners told KLCC that steps have been taken internally to make sure employees understand that no inflammatory language will be tolerated.

To get a perspective on the broader issue, I spoke to Ginger Johnson, founder of the Ashland-based education and marketing company Women Enjoying Beer.