Vermont-based ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's is facing criticism over the announcement that the company is releasing a craft beer. According to USA Today, Ben & Jerry's — a company with an iconoclastic image that is known for its fun flavor combinations — has angered some watchdog groups over its decision to team up with Colorado-based brewer New Belgium Brewing to create a craft beer called Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale.
Ben and Jerry's, which is owned by Unilever, is known for having a family-friendly image, cartoon illustrations on its packaging, and flavors that are influenced by current media and pop culture references. Some are arguing that the company is irresponsibly trading on its image by now entering the alcohol market.
Is this the second coming of Joe Camel, or is it irrational to posit that if children love a certain brand of ice cream, it would follow that those children could be tempted into drinking a beer made by that same ice cream maker? One group believes Ben & Jerry's is using its image irresponsibly:
"It's a crass, corporate greedy move to put put a brand name like Ben & Jerry's on a beer," says Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director and CEO of Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog consumer group. "It's bad for children -- who will start looking at beer as the next step after ice cream."
Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have not shied away from controversy before, stating as recently as a couple of months ago in an interview with HuffPo Live that they have had "previous experiences with substances" and would not be averse to potentially producing a marijuana-infused ice cream.