These days it’s not unusual for breweries to release beers intended to support a particular cause, but we reckon we might have pinpointed the first: ‘No Cruise Mild’, from 1983–84.
It was produced by Pitfield Brewery on a tiny kit in the basement of a specialist beer shop near Old Street in London and sold through one of David Bruce’s Firkin brewpubs, The Pheasant & Firkin in Islington. The name refers to US Cruise missiles, the installation of which was protested by women’s groups at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire during December 1983.
While the name of the beer certainly showed support for the Greenham Common protesters the short article in What’s Brewing for March 1984, which is the only reference we’ve been able to dig up, doesn’t make clear whether any of the profits from its sale also went their way. It does, however, reproduce Ken Pyne’s cartoon for Marketing Week which we hope he won’t mind us sharing here:
Of course there were lots of beers before this that you can argue were political in one way or another – all those commemorative beers for the 1981 royal wedding and the Queen’s coronation, for example, are political in their own way – but we reckon this might be the earliest example of a beer whose branding was explicitly tied to a progressive cause.
If you reckon we’re wrong, or have more information on this particular beer, let us know in the comments below.