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A man sued beer company Brewdog for gender discrimination against men - and won

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: Brewdog

From Cosmopolitan

If there's one group in society we can all agree is totally oppressed and marginalised, it's got to be men. It must suck to be a man, suffering for your penis and the opportunities it inhibits.

Well, that's what one man - Dr Thomas Bower - apparently believes, anyway, after he spent time and money suing beer company Brewdog for discriminating against men in their 'Pink IPA' campaign intended to highlight the gender pay gap.

The Pink IPA - a play on the brand's popular Punk IPA - was controversial at the time of its release. Despite Pink IPA being sold at a fifth cheaper than Punk IPA, to reflect the gender pay gap and to "[expose] the sexist marketing techniques used to target women, particularly within the beer industry", women pointed out that they didn't need a pink label to make it acceptable to partake in beer drinking, thank you very much.

But whether you felt the lady beer was patronising or not, its point was to start a conversation about the fact women get paid, on average, 18.1% less than men in the UK. So you'd think most people would be in agreement that this wouldn't be the ideal basis upon which to launch a legal case over the discrimination of men.

Photo credit: James North/Brewdog

Dr Thomas Bower, on the other hand, was so outraged he was not granted access to the £4 price tag on Pink IPA due to his identity as a male, that he went on to sue the company over the issue. And guess what: he won.

The 27-year-old software engineer from Cardiff said the problem arose for him because he "felt forced to identify as female" in order to get the drink for £4 instead of £5. After complaining to the company and receiving a response to say it wasn't discrimination because the price difference was part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap, Bower went on to pursue his legal options.

Bower ended up taking Brewdog to a small claims court, requesting damages and an apology for "direct discrimination and breach of the Equality Act 2010". Alternatively, he offered the chance for Brewdog to apologise "publicly" in exchange for dropping the claim. The brewery did not take the complainant up on his offer, and went on to lose the case in court.

Brewdog was ordered to pay £1000 in damages, which Wales Online reports Dr Thomas Bower has donated to charity. It is not known exactly which charity the money has gone to.

A transcript of the judge's ruling from the case read: "In my judgment, it is clear that in this case the claimant has been directly discriminated against by the defendant because of his sex.

"The fact that by identifying as female he was still able to purchase a Pink IPA makes no difference. I accept what Dr Bower says, namely that identifying as female was the only way he could purchase a Pink IPA at a cost of £4."

The judge conceded in his judgement that Bower must have felt "humiliated", which was "not a pleasant experience for him".

Cool, so now can we step out of this Black Mirror episode and get on with real problems, like worrying about who is going to take over running the country next month?

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