Beer and the blonde stereotype

A Rochester brewpub’s beer label is intended to show that the perception of women is not what it may seem. Or so Grand Rounds Brewing CEO Tessa Leung tells KIMT, defending the label against an assertion by a local pastor that it’s offensive.

The “A” is a reference to the Scarlet Letter. The blonde is a reference to stereotypes about blonde-haired women.

The company says the beer “will have you rethinking those dumb blonde jokes” apparently because “there’s more lying behind that honey, sweet first impression.”

But it didn’t make Katy Lee feel right, according to KIMT.

“I just saw the image of this woman who looked like she was leaning back and sort of in a position of kind of weakness, um, with a man kissing her and sort of all the #metoo words kind of stuck in my head and just made me feel like this was not right,” Lee said.

She objects to two billboards which show the label’s artwork against a slogan that says “mark your territory.”

But Leung says it’s the woman kissing the man and defended the artwork and billboard in a statement.

I am strong female business owner who has worked in this community for over 10 years. I work with a very strong, confident intelligent and predominantly female team. I have and always will work to support and mentor women in business, in the board room and in the classroom.

Even the tech sheet about our beer references that women are strong on their own in spite of being blonde or a woman. It is ironic that a label so many women saw and understood as empowering, as a wink and nod to the real meaning, is now being called out for being exactly the opposite.

We cannot and should not allow ourselves to loose sight of the real issue and problem at hand, sexual abuse and harassment of women in the workplace. We need to address and fix that problem. Not focus on a beer name and label. “

Leung says she has no plans to take down the billboards.

(h/t: Catharine Richert)