Industry News

Riverbend Brewing Fudges Up

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In the latest example of tone deaf marketing and branding, Riverbend Brewing of Bend, Oregon has unveiled a new beer called Fudge Me Berry Hard. The label depicts what appears to be a cartoonish chunk of fudge uncomfortably penetrating a raspberry sexually. I was first shown this label a few weeks ago and had trouble believing this would actually be released. In addition to the name and the obvious connotations, the fudge character has a face of delighted ecstasy while the raspberry looks distressed and in pain, and the leaves flying off look like a bra — another awe inspiring detail that helps cement this as one of the more jaw-dropping moves by an Oregon brewery. After receiving the press release announcing Fudge Me Berry Hard and another beer called Blunder Armour Northwest IPA, I asked Riverbend brewer Mike Brady if they did not see any issue with the Fudge Me label.

“We understand it is a bit risqué, but it’s in good humor, comical, and consensual.  We have received good feedback from when we have showed this to many” said Brady.

All that says to me is that some people have learned nothing and must be existing in a bubble outside of these times. I have been accused of risqué works myself, but this seems going above and beyond risqué and isn’t even sexy but just in bad taste.

Am I wrong? I am sure you will all weigh in in the comments.

If you are so inclined, here is some more info on the beers from Riverbend Brewing:

Blunder Armour IPA is a collaboration beer with Cascade Armory, a small independent clothing company based here in Bend, Oregon. Being good friends with the brewery we were saddened to learn that the corporate giant Under Armour has sent multiple cease and desists to this family owned clothing company in what they are absurdly calling brand confusion. In an effort to help with their building legal fees we brewed a highly hopped West Coast IPA, with portions of the proceeds going to their expensive legal battle. Bright, juicy, tropical, with a touch of dankness, this 7% beer is both crushable and potent. With a twist, and fun way to experiment we will be trying with every batch a slight change to the recipe for a way to keep things interesting and allowing us to explore new techniques. Expect every unique batch’s bottom of can to have a unique word identifying that its different from another.

Blunder Armour IPA – 7% ABV

Malts – Great Western Pale, Superior pilsner, torrified wheat, rice flakes, dextrose

Hops – Mosaic, Mosaic Oil, Simcoe, Cascade (Cryo) CTZ, Centennial, (rotating)

Yeast – Imperial Juice or American Ale II (rotating)

Even though spring is here, doesn’t mean the dark beers should disappear. Fudge Me Berry Hard (yes you read that right) is a creamy, delicate imperial milk porter with a giant addition of raspberry puree, cocoa nibs and vanilla. Decedent, dessert-like, and delicious with flavor notes of milk chocolate, ripened raspberries and hot cocoa. Served in 16oz 4-pack cans and very limited draft, it is a switch compared to our very heavy IPA wheelhouse. Although it’s something we have wanted to brew for years.

Ah, yes, that is a piece of chocolate and a berry falling deeply in love on that label…

With both of these new releases we would love to give some thanks and appreciation to Peak Design Collective (@peakdesigncollective) for creating and designing these labels.

Fudge Me Berry Hard – 8% ABV

Malts – Great Western Pale, pale chocolate, midnight wheat, chocolate, munich, flaked

barley, crystal 60, rolled oats, lactose milk sugar

Hops – Millenium, Bravo, CTZ, Belma

Yeast – Imperial Juice

Additions – Oregon Fruit raspberry puree, cocoa nibs, vanilla

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

13 Comments

  1. Jack Johnson

    March 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    They’re dancing 🕺💃

  2. Jessica C O'Malley

    March 26, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    You are not wrong.

  3. Mike Brady

    March 26, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Ah Changed the article when you got backlash for assuming a lot of things. Thanks for hashtagging my name with the words “rape” and “anal” You do know this can have very adverse repercussions on my career, because of your bullshit misconstrued opinion. “bro”

    • Samurai Artist

      March 26, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      the article has not been changed. If you are worried about it having an negative effect on your career you should probably take to heart the criticism and consider them instead of belittling yourself by making personal attacks.

    • Jason Notte

      March 27, 2019 at 7:37 am

      The way I see it, Ezra did you a solid by still running your labels and summaries despite the fact that he clearly disdains your label. Also, he did you another favor by not mentioning your brewpub’s closure last year. He could’ve been a lot more harsh and insinuated that these two examples illustrate deeper problems within the brewery and, perhaps, speak to the dearth of business acumen among those running it.

      But he didn’t.

  4. Andy

    March 26, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    I can’t see being proud of this. There’s snarky and there’s offensive. Even in a gradient, this is not tasteful.

  5. Elyse

    March 27, 2019 at 1:36 am

    No

  6. Matthew Wing

    March 27, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Feel free to write a critique of my company, BDSM Brewing Company. There you can have a Ballgag IIPA, a Watersports Pilsner, delicious State of Submission Irish Red, a Safeword Stout, and many more. No press is bad press.

    • Samurai Artist

      March 27, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      if you come out with a label that shows a character under what appears to be sexual duress then we just might.

  7. Jessica Sands

    March 27, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    When I view the label, I don’t see a consensual act taking place. While there likely are men who might, it would behoove RiverBend to understand their audience. Perhaps they do only want male customers who are comfortable with imaging that portrays non-consensual acts – who am I to know? As a long time fan and cheerleader of their beers and now closed pub, I’m certainly hesitant to continue to support them.

    They have an opportunity here to view their label and overall branding through other points of view – I truly hope that they are able to do so without defensiveness.

  8. Britt

    March 27, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    There are way more important things to be offended over in this world than a tongue-in-cheek beer label and name. It’s funny! As a female in the male-dominated beer industry, I don’t find this offensive at all. Beer is the one area I can go for light-hearted humor and fun, and to forget about real problems in life for a few hours. Have a laugh and get over it. Save your outrage for something that really matters.

    • Samurai Artist

      March 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      obviously people disagree about what’s offensive, but if just a quarter of the fans find your beer offensive then it seems like a good reason not to do it. Also, I can actually be offended by multiple things of various levels of importance, no need to save it up.

  9. Justin

    March 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    An odd label? Sure, but I don’t see the ‘pain and distress’ in the personification of the raspberry. Kind of just looks like two foods getting it on.

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