High-Alcohol Beer Coming to Stores in Calif., NYC

A Scottish microbrewery that has received intense criticism for marketing products with an alcohol content far exceeding popular brands is shipping one of its beers to select retailers in California and New York City, Time magazine reported April 10.

BrewDog co-founder Jim Watt’s interest in the U.S. market stems from the fact that about half of the orders on his company’s website come from American customers. “We’re keen to push the envelope and challenge people’s perceptions of how beer can be enjoyed,” Watt said.

The beer being shipped to the U.S. market, called Tactical Nuclear Penguin, contains 32 percent alcohol by volume, more than six times what is found in typical domestic beers.

BrewDog’s marketing tactics have gotten the company in trouble on numerous occasions in Europe. Last December, British alcohol regulators ordered stores to stop selling its 18.2 percent alcohol beer. Jack Law, chief executive of the group Alcohol Focus Scotland, has referred to BrewDog’s products as “irresponsible” as his nation deals with significant alcohol problems.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin isn’t even BrewDog’s highest-alcohol beer. In response to a German brewer’s release of a 40 percent alcohol beer, BrewDog created a 41 percent brew.

Some observers say the extremely high cost of these products (Tactical Nuclear Penguin costs around $53 a bottle) is likely to keep them out of the hands of most young drinkers. 

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