Bearded Brewery upbraided over its Unshaven Maiden cider

AN English cider maker has found itself at loggerheads with alcohol industry regulator the Portman Group for the second time over the naming of one of its products.  

The Bearded Brewery in Cornwall attracted a complaint for its cider brand, Unshaven Maiden. A 4% ABV sweet cherry cider, Unshaven Maiden was promoted alongside an image of a pirate ship with a figurehead shaped like a bearded mermaid and the tagline ‘search for the cherry’d treasure’. 

A rival brewer complained to the Portman Group on the grounds that the image was ‘unnecessarily sexual’ – a claim that was strenuously denied by the company itself. 

In a Facebook update co-founder Rob Langouroux-Fay blasted the complaint. 

“For us to be banned for this is ridiculous,” he said. “The logo is a pirate ship which is called The Unshaven Maiden. The siren or mermaid on the front is a woman with a beard – hence why she is the Unshaven Maiden – and the tagline is ‘hunt for the cherry’d treasure’, because it’s a cherry-flavoured cider and it’s a play on words for ‘buried treasure’.”

However, last month the Portman Group decided to uphold the complaint on the grounds that both the image and name could be linked to ‘a virgin or unmarried young woman’ and said the tagline ‘reinforced the innuendo linking to virginity’. 

“It was clear that this product was damaging – promoting sexual stereotypes in this way is out of place with modern-day societal values,” said complaints panel chair, Nicola Williams. “Producers all have a duty to consider how their products will be perceived, not only by their local community but the wider UK market in which the products are sold.”

It’s the second time the Portman Group has upheld a complaint against The Bearded Brewery, after earlier banning the company’s Suicyder brand.