UK craft beer market-leader BrewDog has a track record of provocative publicity stunts (it once drove a tank down Camden High Road in London). So some will be wondering if the brewer and bar operator’s latest launch comes from the same attention-seeking (and getting) mould.
BrewDog’s Hybrid Burger – a counterintuitive combination of 50% Beyond Meat and 50% sustainably reared beef topped with vegan Gouda cheese – is certainly garnering plenty of headlines.
BrewDog is pitching the Hybrid Burger as an “environmentally sustainable alternative” to its current burger line-up, offering, in its words, “the best of both words”. But many vegans have rounded on the company, questioning the point – and ethics – of surrounding a beef burger (50% beef at any rate) with vegan ingredients.
On social media, the new burger has been called “dumb”, ‘trash”, “pointless” and the “the burger that no one on planet earth has been asking for”. One tweeter asked, “why not just offer a 100% vegan burger and a 100% beef burger”.
To which BrewDog would say “we already do” (its existing bar menu is half vegetarian and 25% vegan). But national newspapers weren’t writing about that – and lots of them have been splashing headlines about the “controversial” new Hybrid Burger. BrewDog’s PRs will be patting on themselves on their backs for this particular “backlash”.
But the company insists that its new launch is more than just a publicity stunt. In a press release it says, “as we are in the grip of a climate emergency, the more people who eat less meat the better. That is why we have launched this fresh take on flexitarianism”.
It’s a point taken on board by the Vegan Society. Its media and PR officer commented: “While BrewDog’s Hybrid Burger is clearly not a product aimed at vegans, it may help people to decrease their meat intake.
“It’s a great start to reduce your animal product consumption but we would strongly encourage people to try a fully vegan meal to truly experience the nutritious and delicious plant foods.”