Tokyo* is Britain's strongest beer, but it will cure binge drinking … honest
IT is a brewery that is no stranger to controversy, with a previous brew, Speedball, being criticised for its name's alleged links to illegal drugs.
But now BrewDog has been criticised as "utterly irresponsible" for producing a beer with an alcohol content of 18 per cent – the UK's strongest beer – and promoting it as a "cure" for binge drinking.
Campaigners and health officials last night condemned the launch of the beer, accusing the brewery of encouraging antisocial behaviour.
The Aberdeenshire-based micro-brewery yesterday unveiled Tokyo*, an oak-aged imperial stout with a staggering 18.2 per cent alcohol content.
Each 330ml bottle will contain the equivalent of six units of alcohol – twice the recommended daily limit set by health professionals.
But James Watt, 26, who formed the brewery two years ago with fellow former Peterhead Academy pupil Martin Dickie, claimed the heady beer would help to promote responsible drinking.
He said: "The beers we make at BrewDog, including Tokyo*, are providing a cure to binge beer drinking. At BrewDog, we are determined to revolutionise the UK beer scene.
"Mass-market, industrially brewed lagers are so bland and tasteless that you are seduced into drinking a lot of them. Our hardcore beers are loaded with flavour, bite and body, so consequently you drink less of them."
But health professionals and politicians were united in condemning the brewery's latest creation. Jack Law, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: "This company is completely deluded if they think that an 18.2 per cent abv beer will help solve Scotland's alcohol problems. It is utterly irresponsible to bring out a beer which is so strong at a time when Scotland is facing unprecedented levels of alcohol-related health and social harm."
Ross Finnie, the Scottish Liberal Democrats' health spokesman, also attacked the super strength beer.
"I am not sure at all what place producing stronger strength beer has in a Scottish society where, across all age groups and all socio-economic categories, the medical evidence is that, as a nation, we are drinking too much alcohol."
A spokeswoman for BMA Scotland said: "It is irresponsible of the company to market their product in this way."
But Mr Watt said the company wanted the "change perceptions about beer".
He said: "Tokyo* is a connoisseurs' beer to be savoured like a good brandy. We've been challenging people to drink less alcohol, and educating the palates of drinkers with progressive craft-brewed beers which have an amazing depth of flavour, body and character."
Asked whether BrewDog might yet develop an even more potent brew, he replied: "We just want to keep pushing the boundaries with what we are doing. It is a definite possibility."
Tokyo* will be produced in a limited run of 3,000 bottles and will be priced at 9.99.
Zak Avery, a former UK Beer Writer of the Year and one of Britain's leading beer experts, backed the brewery.
He said: "To claim that this type of beer is part of the alcohol abuse problem is akin to blaming Michelin-starred restaurants for the oft-reported obesity epidemic."
BrewDog previously threatened to sue drinks industry watchdog, the Portman Group, for defamation over claims that its Speedball beer was "profiteering from the scourge of illegal drugs". Speedballing is the name given to combining heroin and cocaine.
However, it has since drawn a line under the row.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North