RED ZONE: Local beer accused of promoting rape culture

An Alaskan craft beer that has been around since the 1990s has recently been accused of promoting rape culture and the objectification of women. After Midnight Sun Brewing Company won honors from the Can Can awards, a beer competition for canned beer products, speculation in the name “Panty Peeler” arose. This beer, being made in a state with the highest rate of sexual assaults in the nation, makes it easy to assume the correlation between alcohol and sexual assaults. However, this is not the case for Panty Peeler, which has been associated with the promotion of rape when it is intended to encourage the individually of women.

The label on the can contains a naked, red-haired woman riding a caribou, tossing her bra and panties behind her. Many assume Panty Peeler was designed by a man, for men. However, this beer is marketed towards women, by women. Midnight Sun’s marketing and sales team are mainly made up of women with many at management level positions.

“We never wanted or intended for it to be associated with rape or date rape,” Barb Miller, co-founder of Midnight Sun said. “We are serious about how we design and create our beers, but on the marketing side we have fun with it, I don’t think we are crossing any lines.”

Many people believe the label of the can and the name Panty Peeler is strictly sexual. Miller stresses it has nothing to do with sex.

“It’s not just a woman who wants to have sex or a woman who is going to have sex or a woman who is going to be forced to have sex, it’s more about a woman being free spirited,” Miller said.

Midnight Sun has another beer called Pleasure Town which contains a naked man on a moose holding up his underwear behind him on the label. However, there have not been complaints about that certain craft beer which shows the double standards in this situation.

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Despite recent controversy surrounding the Midnight Sun Brewing Company's Panty Peeler, upper management of the local Alaskan brewery describes the craft beer as being made for women, by women. Photo credit: Young Kim
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Alcohol can be a major factor in sexual assaults. But, sexual assaults should be blamed on the perpetrators, not the alcohol.

“Just because someone is drinking it doesn’t mean they want to get raped, just because someone is drinking it doesn’t mean they can rape,” Miller said.

Putting the blame on Panty Peeler for promoting and condoning rape instead of the predator committing these assaults is avoiding the fact we have a problem in Alaska that involves other issues that does not involve a name of a beer.

“You’re a rapist or you’re not a rapist, beer is not going to change that,” Miller said.

These assumptions about Panty Peeler were made without conducting any research on the brand or beer itself.

“These people that are lashing out at us don’t know Midnight Sun, they have not been to Midnight Sun, they don’t know our beers, they don’t know about the craft beer community,” Miller said.

A majority of the Anchorage community is standing behind Midnight Sun and the Panty Peeler.

“[I am a] proud drinker of the Panty Peeler, people need to pull their panties out of their ass and chill out,” Hali Gravelle, Anchorage resident said, “It’s a humorous can, nothing to be taken seriously.”

Many women in Alaska are posting photos of themselves with Panty Peeler when they are out on their adventures. With much support from consumers of Panty Peeler, Midnight Sun does not plan on changing anytime soon.

“We are not changing the name, the art, or the recipe,” Miller said.

Panty Peeler is designed to encourage having fun, being free, and enjoying an adventure with a specially crafted Belgian tripel. So ladies, take off your bra and panties and enjoy a cold one.