You might have seen Bristol Dry Gin draw huge criticism for putting out a social media post which, in the brand’s own words, was ‘way out of line’. This is our take on the situation.
Bristol Spirits Collective, maker of Bristol Dry Gin, has made a reputation for itself as being, at best “edgy”, and at worst “reprehensible”.
Two episodes in recent history were the release of a vodka named “Novichok” after the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury, and most recently a tweet which drew widespread criticism for insensitively referencing the anti-racism protests and riots in the US following the killing of George Floyd.
We mention this because this type of “controversial” approach seems to be a part of the brand that Bristol Dry Gin is trying to build, and that may or may not be for you.
As in most populations of humans, there are diverse perspectives here at MoM Towers. It’s fair to say that, on a personal basis, there aren’t many people here who would support the things Bristol Dry Gin has said.
In fact, there was serious discussion about whether the right course of action would be to de-list Bristol Dry Gin as a supplier. In the end we decided that however distasteful we personally felt their tweet was, it wasn’t our place as a company to make moralistic judgments on your behalf.
Were we to remove Bristol Dry Gin from the site then we would be making an exception to our policy of stocking absolutely everything and letting you – the customer – decide what to buy. We would be applying a moral filter to the decision making process and denying you the opportunity to make that judgement for yourself. We do however feel that it’s appropriate here, as with any other product we carry, to give you all the information we have which might be relevant when making a decision about whether or not you want to buy it, and this is our attempt to do that.
Another consequence of delisting a product just because we don’t like something the producer has said, would be to imply that any product we chose to keep listed (because it would now be an explicit choice) carried our support and endorsement.
Right now, because we list absolutely everything, a product being on the site doesn’t imply (and indeed doesn’t carry) any endorsement or approval from us whatsoever. As soon as we delist a single product it totally changes our policy, and from that point forward people would have a reasonable expectation that any producer we chose to keep listed had passed our moral purity test and was therefore endorsed by us.
Whether you want to support the product and its producer is up to you, and we won’t rob you of the ability to make that decision on your own, according to your own moral judgement.
Finally, delisting a product is a punitive action, and we would have to determine how much punishment they deserved and whether they had suffered / apologised / repented enough to be re-listed (and that’s if you believe that punishment is the right response in this sort of situation). We would need to make a moral call on the way into their anathematisation as well as their way out (and we do believe that everyone has the opportunity for redemption).
For balance and completeness, Bristol Dry Gin has apologised and has also made some charitable donations in response to the criticism they’ve received. Whether this is sufficient or indeed needed is really up to you.
It’s on us as customers to be informed about the values and ethics of the brands we support with our purchases, and to make informed decisions on that basis. This is as good a showcase of that principle as you could get, and shows that it applies as much to gin as it does to clothing or coffee.
The recent heartbreaking events in America have and the massive public response has once again reminded us that the world is not yet free of racism and bigotry.
We decry and denounce racism, bigotry and hate in all its forms. Every human life is precious, and we work towards a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive, succeed and grow to meet their full potential, irrespective of the colour of their skin, sex, sexuality or gender.
To everyone who has suffered discrimination or injustice because of your immutable characteristics, we are with you.