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Watchdog: BrewDog Beer Promotes Ridiculously Expensive Binge Drinking

A UK watchdog has blocked local sales of a Scottish beer, Tokyo*, which has 18.2 percent alcohol content -- quadruple the content of most standard beers.

The Portman Group works with drink makers to "raise standards of alcohol marketing" and "challenge companies to be socially responsible" in the UK. BrewDog's Tokyo* ran afoul of these standards not because of its alcohol content, the organization said, but because of marketing that explicitly promoted excessive drinking. The label reads, "Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. What logically follows is that you must, from time to time, have excess."

But BrewDog called the Portman Group's attack misdirected; Toyko* is only available online or from specialty shops, and it's unlikely to be popular with people whose primary goal is to get extremely drunk. Cheap beer promotes the country's alcohol problem, said BrewDog co-founder James Watt, not craft beers like BrewDog's.

BrewDog also received criticism for its Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer, which was a record-breaking 32 percent alcohol. But that beer had a limited run and sold for around $70 a bottle; those looking to get trashed are unlikely to choose a Tactical Nuclear Penguin over a bottle of cheap vodka.

Similar arguments are taking place in the U.S., where a growing number of states are raising the legal cap on beer's alcohol content. But groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have much more sensible complaints -- rather than banning potent beers, they just want to make sure the higher alcohol content is prominently mentioned so that beer drinkers know what they're getting into.

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