Vodka, scotch, Boris, Brexit

Indo col 63

Fellow gentlemen drinkers – do you yearn for a more manly drink? Do you lament the erosion of the bar/lounge divide, or women being allowed to drink pints? Are you confused by the modern bar scene, with its unisex toilets, non-binary mixologists and alluring flamboyance of cocktail culture? Well, good news from the east, where one vodka firm has decided to take their product from the category of ‘the tasteless stuff ordered by people who don’t know what to drink’ and place it firmly in the BroZone. Marking their 25th – and hopefully final – year, Ukrainian vodka producers Nemiroff have gone all in and placed all their chips on the masculinist square with a vodka aimed solely at men.

Yuriy Sorochinskiy, CEO of Nemiroff, said: “Throughout the centuries we fought for the right of men to consume high-quality vodka – brave as their spirit and strong as their will. We stay loyal to our traditions despite all the obstacles that have been placed in our path.” Obstacles like suffrage, presumably.

The relaunch of this particular vodka has seen them redesign the packaging into a manly, angular square bottle, rather than a clearly womanly, round bottle shape preferred by everyone in the world – except Johnny Walker. In fact, Johnny Walker would do well to take note of Nemiroff’s bold rejection of a century of progress, as their own struggles back in March showed. To mark Women’s History Month, the iconic Scotch brand replaced the figure of Johnnie Walker with a woman, and renamed the limited edition bottle Jane Walker. ‘What a terrific idea’, somebody in Diageo thought to themselves as they signed off on it. Sadly, in an unsurprising turn of events, almost nobody agreed, and once again it, much like Nemiroff CEO’s statement, it was a statement from senior management that really punched in the launch codes.

“Scotch as a category is seen as intimidating by women. It’s an exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand,” Stephanie Jacoby, vice president of Johnnie Walker told Bloomberg. If there’s one thing the ladies love, it’s being told that they are intimidated by an inert liquid. Roughly two seconds after this statement, the fair and gentle sex unleashed hell on the brand, and all Diageo’s good intentions from the limited edition – donations to various organisations championing women’s causes and, obviously, brand promotion – were lost in a mighty cacophony of people of all genders wondering what Diageo were thinking.

Won’t somebody think of the female cyclists? That was the cry from beloved political buffoon Boris Johnson this week as he stepped down from his role of pretending to get on with Theresa May to spend more time in his main role as the Kaiser Soze of Brexit. Johnson is a remarkable character, who has managed to hide his ruthlessness and cunning behind by creating a Bertie Wooster-esque persona, in much the same way John Wayne Gacy used to dress up as Pogo The Clown to entertain kids, when behind the scenes he was killing 33 people and dumping their bodies in the crawl space under his house. BoJo has mumbled and bumbled through his career, quietly leaving a trail of dead in his wake, former friends, enemies and frienemies, all left with naught for their tussles with BoJo, save for a coating of white blonde hairs, as though they were mauled by a rabid-yet-loveable Golden Retriever.  

Johnson’s resignation letter is a tour de force in passive aggression and poorly disguised attacks on May, but one of the most jarring lines was about the threat to cyclists – and, very specifically, female cyclists – from what Boris calls ‘juggernauts’. Female Cyclists Vs Juggernauts sounds like a really poor Japanese monster movie, or perhaps an electro-punk band you’d catch at an all-day charity gig in Whelan’s, but Johnson’s inclusion of this line in his letter shows just how caring he is, thinking of all the lady cyclists riding sidesaddle on their crossbar-less bikes, trying to hold on to their bonnets with one hand as ‘juggernauts’ whip by them. Normal people call them lorries Boris, or if you are speaking to those with notions, HGVs.

A cyclist himself, Johnson previously brought his concerns about HGVs and the visibility of cyclists to the EU, and four years ago the EU ruled that it would change the shape of HGV windows to make it easier for drivers to see cyclists. The new, safer lorries hit the roads from next year, proving that the system works. Sadly, by that time Britain will be looking at the EU in their rear view window as the Brexit juggernaut rumbles over the white cliffs of Dover, and BoJo celebrates escalating trade wars and rising prices with an angular bottle of manly Ukrainian vodka.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.