This Craft Brewery Realized Its "MILF" Beer Was in Poor Taste, so Get This: They Actually Changed It to Something Positive

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This Craft Brewery Realized Its "MILF" Beer Was in Poor Taste, so Get This: They Actually Changed It to Something Positive

For all the efforts made by pioneering women in the craft brewing community, it’s hard to shake the stigma of beer as the perennial boys club. Although the overall demographics of the industry continue to draw closer to egalitarianism, we’ve still had to write pieces over the years about the troubling use of female sexuality in craft beer advertising, or one cidery’s incredibly sexist marketing, which stated that the cider market came about to serve “the girlfriends” of craft beer drinkers. Even with groups such as the Brewers Association’s Diversity Committee working to help bring more parity to the industry, we get constant reminders that there’s still a long way to go.

Still, with that said, it’s really refreshing to see a brewery recognize a mistake, own up to it, and then actually change it for the better rather than doubling down in defense of something tacky. That’s what happened recently at Springfield, MO’s Mother’s Brewing Co.

For years, Mother’s had been producing and marketing a well-liked, barrel-aged imperial stout by the questionable name of “MILF.” The name had never really come under any particular fire from the brewery’s audience, but over time, it seems the brewery simply realized that “MILF” lacked a certain air of elegance for one of the brewery’s most sought-after products.

old milf label inset.jpg The old MILF label. Certainly could have been worse, in all fairness.

And so, the brewery just came up with a better name: “Materfamilias,” while simultaneously admitting a degree of fault and rationalizing the change to their audience. As stated in the brewery’s official post on the subject:

Starting with the 2019 release, this coveted beer will be known as Materfamilias. Why would we make such a drastic change to a brand that has been a consistent winner over the course of our seven years?

The original name is based on the joke that likely needs no explanation. When we were a fledgling brewery, ‘MILF’ fit the irreverent stance we were introducing ourselves with. Over time, we’ve come to realize that what first seemed cheeky and funny no longer fits us or this beer. Nor does the name ‘MILF’ reflect the effort and devotion we put into making the liquid. This is our most time consuming and labor intensive beer. It’s the beer we choose as the fitting end to a perfect evening with friends and family. It is a beer that we will confidently put alongside any beer in the world. It deserves a name that reflects its pedigree.

Materfamilias is Latin for ‘female head of the house.’ No other beer we make commands as much attention and devotion as she. From the brewhouse to the barrels, your Mother’s remains at the service of this exquisite imperial stout. In the aging process, the beer’s interaction with the wood of bourbon, rye whiskey, rum, and brandy barrels dictates the composition of the final blend. Materfamilias cannot be rushed. It cannot be forced. It brooks no compromise. The result is a stout of such complexity and nuance that you, too, will recognize the authority of your Materfamilias.

That is simply a classy move—a beautiful way of turning something ribald and potentially offputting to your female customers into something with a certain gravitas—and it’s a much better name, to boot. Moreover, we’re impressed with the proactive way that Mother’s chose to make the change themselves as a result of their own ruminations, rather than waiting for some kind of PR kerfuffle to force their hands and make the change look reactionary. Here, they take control of the story before it has a chance to take control of them.

mothers materfamilias inset (Custom).jpg The new Materfamilias label.

Will there be some fans of the brewery who get irrationally upset about the name of the beer changing? You’re damn straight there will be, but these kinds of changes are never without their detractors—and your fans will most assuredly find a reason to get irrationally upset about practically any topic, if they want to. Look at the brewery’s announcements on social media, though, and you’ll primarily see fans who agree that

A. The new name is better, and

B. Was a smart move on the brewery’s part.

And even to the person who called the change a display of “politically correct BS,” Mother’s had the perfect reply. More than anything else, it’s this response that shows maturity from the brand, by handling the issue as well as any brewery possibly could. As the next commenter observes, Mother’s has grown up. Let’s hope that more breweries continue to follow their example.

mothers brewing facebook comment inset (Custom).jpg

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