Style: Spiced Ale
What I was doing while I drank it
The place: A chair.
The vibe: Super BACZ-y vibe. I was totally in the zone.
The work: I think the Red Zone started going to my head, because at one point I hit CTRL-F to find a something on a page so I could edit it and caught myself typing “bacz” by accident.
Reactions and Insights
You know, this is pretty good. I wasn’t expecting it to be. It’s very flavorful, but not too strong in any direction. Sometimes spiced beers can feel too herbed up. This does not.
Would I drink a case of it?
No, in part because of the label. But it’s a little too much flavor for a workaday beer.
Okay, but would I drink a six-pack of it?
Did it contribute to my holiday spirit?
I’m inching toward the spirit.
There are a couple of things going on here. One is the reference to bygone Philadelphia premium cable channel Prism, which existed from 1976-1997. (The Prism brewery is located just outside Philadelphia.) My family subscribed because it broadcast Phillies home games. But I also loved it for playing movies like Little Murders and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. Prism the channel was weird and great.
But more, um, prominent on the label is the porny illustration. Is it done with a wink? I can’t tell. It’s so overtly sexist that I want it to be a joke. But I actually feel like the beer is telling me it’s not meant for me. BRO DUDES ONLY
Fine, I don’t need your Red Zone. I have the BACZONE.
4 thoughts on “Day 3: Prism Red Zone”
I really came close to not buying this because of the label. It was the last one I picked and if it weren’t for the complete appropriation of the Prism branding from the television channel, I would have passed. Glad you liked it – it’s totally stupid of them to make such a sexist label.
I actually wrote to them about how I felt about the labels (it’s not just Red Zone) and got this response from Prism Beer:
“Chris, I’m sorry you feel they are sexist. Red Zone is “football seasonal”. Naked Red (and the other naked series beers) are called naked because they are the “stripped” versions of some of more popular styles; meaning we don’t but in the twists like blood oranges or fall spices. And Shady Blonde is named after a friend of the owner who loves playing cards and has the nickname “shady”. None are meant to demean women. In fact those beers are some of our most popular with our female customers. We respect your opinion and we also understand that no matter what we put on the label some people will like it and some will not. We hope that some explanation will help you enjoy the liquid and diminish some of the interpreted sexism.”
I love that you wrote to them, and I appreciate that they responded. But they don’t seem to be addressing your issue directly. “We don’t intend for these to be demeaning, therefore they aren’t” doesn’t work as an argument. My guess is that any attention they get for their labels, positive or negative, helps sales — or at least they think it does.
I found this thread on BA, but only a few of the comments are thoughtful and on topic:
I need to post the whole back and forth, as it’s gone on…
I included your Red Zone in my sister’s beer advent calendar this year – the season is young, but so far it’s her favorite by far. However, I almost left it out, for the same reason I myself have never tried your stuff (despite my love of the Prism channel nostalgia and my desire to support local Philly beers): Your sexist labels. Red Zone, Naked Red, Shady Blond… why would you go that route? It’s annoying to know I’ve got a good brewery nearby that I can’t in good conscience support.
Chris, I’m sorry you feel they are sexist. Red Zone is “football seasonal”. Naked Red (and the other naked series beers) are called naked because they are the “stripped” versions of some of more popular styles; meaning we don’t but in the twists like blood oranges or fall spices. And Shady Blonde is named after a friend of the owner who loves playing cards and has the nickname “shady”. None are meant to demean women. In fact those beers are some of our most popular with our female customers. We respect your opinion and we also understand that no matter what we put on the label some people will like it and some will not. We hope that some explanation will help you enjoy the liquid and diminish some of the interpreted sexism.
It’s not the names that demean the women, it’s the illustrations on the labels. You can call anything “Naked” without putting a slutty illustration on it (ever hear of Naked Juice?).
My sister’s take on the Red Zone label included this: ” I actually feel like the beer is telling me it’s not meant for me. BRO DUDES ONLY.” So, just be aware that there are women out that who would enjoy your beer, but who believe it is not meant to be enjoyed by them. You’re alienating them and alienating people like me who have a daughter I love and respect too much to bring a bottle like this home.
Have you heard of Dr. Matt Taylor of the European Space Agency?
Here’s a man who was big enough to admit he made a mistake by wearing a sexist shirt (arguably not unlike Prism’s labels). Pretty admirable, huh?
Rosetta scientist Dr Matt Taylor apologises for ‘offensive’ shirt
Taylor breaks down during apology for sexist shirt as he delivers progress report on comet mission
again we respect your perspective, we hope you also understand that in today’s PC world, nearly anything can be taken offensively. We are not aware of Dr Taylor nor are we familiar with his story. Beer is an adult beverage. We suggest you do everything in your power to keep it from being found interesting to your daughter. We too have families and daughters and again we respect your perspective and right to purchase what you like. We are sorry if you believe our labels to be sexist, but it is your right to purchase what you feel you can support. Have you heard of this world becoming too PC?
Well, I thought you might not be aware of Dr. Taylor and his story, that’s why I included the link. I hope you found the time to read up on it – it’s a pretty interesting story, albeit not as interesting as when he helped land a robot on a comet.
As far as beer being found interesting to my daughter: I eat dinner with my family, and I often have a beer with dinner. I’ve never had a need to shield a beer label from my daughter – even at two she understood what an adult beverage was. But I won’t have her growing up thinking her dad supports the objectification of women.
As for the “Are we too politically correct?” video: My first thought after watching it was ‘that was 3 minutes and 42 seconds of my life I’ll never get back’. My second thought was Neil Gaiman’s (relatively) recent quote about political correctness:
“I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the colour of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”
Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile.”
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the world went a little overboard with ‘treating other people with respect.’
I’ll update this if they respond. I totally regret buying this now – at least it was only one beer and not an entire case…