"Dizzy" blonde Peggy could be barred from popular Preston pub amid sexism row

A popular Preston pub could be forced to bar one of its iconic regulars - a leggy blonde in a red dress called Peggy.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 5th April 2019, 2:25 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 6:09 pm
Peggy has been a fixture at The Black Bull for two years, but she could soon be barred due to political correctness.
Peggy has been a fixture at The Black Bull for two years, but she could soon be barred due to political correctness.

Peggy has been a fixture at The Black Horse in Friargate for more than ten years, but the alluring blonde could soon be barred after she was deemed "sexist".

Landlord Danny Taylor said the brewery is considering calling time on "leggy Peggy", the mascot for Dizzy Blonde beer, after she became the focal point of a sexism debate in the beer industry.

"She's still with us for now, but it might only be a matter of time before we have to say goodbye to her", said Danny.

"It's part of a sea change in the industry as a whole. And it's coming from the top down.

"CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) are putting a lot of pressure on breweries to become politically correct. They don't like anything controversial at all.

"They are trying to turn more women onto beer and make pubs more inclusive, which is a good thing.

"But the way they are going about it is threatening to make pub culture sterile and humourless.

Robinsons Brewery is remarketing its Dizzy Blonde beer and has ditched iconic leggy blonde Peggy in favour of a WW2 bomber.

"The funny thing is, Dizzy Blonde is not only one of our best-selling beers, but it is also the beer of choice for our female customers.

"It is a light, refreshing beer - a perfect introduction for people trying ale for the first time or wanting something easy to drink.

"We might have had one or two negative comments about it in the past, but there is far more affection for her.

"It'll be a sad day if we have to pull her and replace her with something else. She'll be missed by many."

Peggy has graced the pump clips of Robinsons Dizzy Blonde ale for more than 10 years.

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Peggy, a slender blonde woman in a red dress, has been the mascot for Dizzy Blonde beer since it was first launched by Robinsons a decade ago.

But the brewery, based in Stockport, is planning a major revamp of its beer range which will see it rebrand its famous beer.

Robinsons said it decided to rebrand Dizzy Blonde in light of an ongoing "sexism in beer debate" and the recent #MeToo movement.

Dizzy Blonde will no longer feature its iconic blonde mascot Peggy after critics said the image was offensive.

While the beer itself has proved popular, the imagery and pump clips used to promote it has drawn criticism, particularly on social media.

It means Peggy will lose her pride of place on bottles and pump clips in pubs across the UK.

Instead, she will trade in her famous red dress and golden curls for an aviator helmet and goggles when the new design is rolled out this year.

The new bottles and pump clips will see Peggy's face emblazoned on the side of a World War II-era aircraft.

Landlord Danny Taylor said critics who are offended by Peggy do not understand or appreciate her history.

"Peggy was originally designed to look like the paintings they'd put on planes during World War II", said Danny.

"Peggy and other women would grace the bombers that went on deadly runs during the war.

"They were good luck charm for pilots and aircraft crews and were never intended to be seen as sexist.

"Instead, she was seen as their protector."

David Bremner, director of marketing for Robinsons Brewery, has explained the decision to rebrand the beer.

He said: "Dizzy Blonde is our best-selling cask beer outside our own pub estate and 10 years after the launch is still in growth.

"The current label was designed in homage to the classic 1940’s Memphis belle style pinup ‘nose art’ of WW2 aircrafts which was so iconic of the era.

"However, it is no secret that, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the backlash against sexual harassment and abuse, Dizzy Blonde has been the focal point of the sexism debate in the beer industry.

"Despite the fact that Dizzy Blonde is a much-loved brand by many, we don’t have our heads in the sand.

"It is time to acknowledge that the presentation is not universally accepted by a society that strives for, and celebrates, equality.

"As a family business of 180 years, we take our responsibilities seriously, and the last thing we’re looking to do is cause offence or marginalised anyone."

Mr Taylor said the pub will make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to pull Peggy from the pumps, and replace her with the new, "politically correct version".

But the landlord admitted that he has been "stoking the fire" by putting the question to customers online.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Taylor asked: "Does our Peggy offend YOU? Our Peggy is not politically correct.

"To combat this Robinsons Brewery have replaced Peggy with a plane on the new pump clip.

"What are your thoughts on this? Do we conform to the political correctness and change our pump clip or not?"

CJ Emson, a content and brand marketeer from Preston, was one of the first to respond.

She said: "As a 30-year-old woman who has been drawn to this beer at cask beer festivals, I remain unoffended.

"Being offended by a beer clip says more about society than men sadly.

"You can either be offended by the ‘dizzy blonde’ stereotype or empower other women and be empowered by it."

But on the other side of the debate, real ale fan Ralph Darvill, 41, said he welcomed the change.

"It's a great beer and it doesn't need the Carry On film marketing schtick", said Ralph.

"The plane pump clip is a nice touch. Those Yanks and their aircraft art could get a bit racy in their day."

Phil Edwards, 39, also thinks the brewery is moving in the right direction by rebranding its beer.

"Change the clip, ditch the stander, come out of the 1970s and stop mithering. (Besides, selling to both sexes is good for trade)", said Phil.

What do CAMRA say?

CAMRA has responded to critics who claim that it is sanitising pub culture by calling for the rebranding of Dizzy Blonde and similarly branded beers.

But it told the Post that the backlash against Dizzy Blonde is primarily driven by consumers.

A spokesman said: "We abhor sexism and we condemn those who use sexist images or slogans to market their products and will not condone them being stocked at our beer festivals or promoted in our competitions and publications.

"The backlash against sexist marketing is primarily driven by consumers. As an organisation representing beer drinkers, we wholeheartedly support those views.

"Beer is a drink for everyone. No one should feel uncomfortable visiting a pub or drinking a beer, no matter their gender, race, ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, national origin, sexuality, religion or belief, marital status and social class.

"Furthermore, we will take action against any CAMRA member who, by their words or acts, is disrespectful of any individual because of their gender.

"We expect the behaviour of those who work with us, whether in campaigning or at our events, to be consistent with our values."

What do you think? Should it be last orders for Peggy in Preston's pubs?