It’s hard not to chuckle a bit when BrewDog manufactures another controversy to get free publicity. Their latest, and possibly greatest, stunt is their new world-record beater — at 55% a.b.v. — The End of History. As if a 110 proof beer wasn’t enough, each of the limited bottles (only 12 were made) cost £500 (approx. $770 U.S.). And they sold out in mere hours to consumers from the Canada, Denmark, England, Italy, Scotland and the U.S. Why, you may ask — besides of course supply and demand? The answer is no doubt designed to bait the press and especially animal lovers, because each of the twelve bottles is inside a small stuffed animal. That’s right, a taxidermist placed a bottle inside the body of 4 squirrels, 7 weasels and 1 hare, all collected as roadkill.
The BBC was the first to weigh in, calling it “perverse.” They got a twofer of outrage from both Advocates for Animals and Alcohol Focus Scotland. Libby Anderson, policy director for Advocates for Animals was quoted as saying “[i]t’s just bad thinking about animals, people should learn to respect them, rather than using them for some stupid marketing gimmick,” forgetting that animals are nearly ubiquitous in advertising, from cute and cuddly to perverse and scary. Remember the Foster’s Farm chickens driving around hoping to be eaten? She adds “[i]t’s pointless and it’s very negative to use dead animals when we should be celebrating live animals. I think the public would not waste £500 on something so gruesome and just ignore it.” Sorry Libby, I guess you don’t know the public as well as you thought, because it sold out in less than a day. Others have called it “shocking” and in “bad taste.”
Here’s how BrewDog describes the beer:
The End of History, at 55%, is the final installment of our efforts to redefine the limits of contemporary brewing.
This blond Belgian ale is infused with nettles from the Scottish Highlands and Fresh juniper berries. Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill.
To me, the proof that it’s a put up lies in this fact. If you read much philosophy, perhaps the title of the beer, The End of History, sounds familiar? It should, because it’s taken from a 1992 book by Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History and the Last Man,” which itself was based on an earlier essay published in the international affairs journal The National Interest. Fukuyama’s original 1989 essay is online, and a percentage of the later book can be read online through Google Books. In referencing the title, BrewDog comments that “this is to beer what democracy is to history.”
There’s also a pretty funny video about the End of History, you can find more about the beer at BrewDog’s website.