Denver’s Call to Arms Brewing Co. changing name of Shirtless Putin beer due to Ukraine invasion

A Denver brewery is changing the name of one of its Vladimir Putin-themed beers and donating a portion of sales to support aid efforts in Ukraine.

Call to Arms Brewing Co. on Tennyson Street originally debuted its Shirtless Putin beer series in 2016 as “a pointed criticism of Russian propaganda,” according to a statement. The first recipe was a barrel-aged imperial Baltic porter with coffee called Shirtless Putin Nuzzling with Dolphins. Eventually, its dark Czech lager, Shirtless Putin Catchin’ Rays, became a staple on the menu.

“While we often like to poke fun at ourselves, timely events, and cultural moments as a whole, at the core of Call to Arms we stand behind human decency and condemn the action of Russia’s
escalating aggression against Ukraine,” brewery founder Chris Bell said in a statement. “As a result, we no longer feel it is appropriate to reference Putin on our beers regardless of the original intent of the series.”

Bell and company have yet to decide on a new name for the beer, but while it undergoes a rebranding, Call to Arms and its distributor, Two Six Craft Distributors, have committed to donating $1 from every six-pack of cans sold to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) aid efforts in Ukraine. Six-packs are available for purchase at the brewery (4526 Tennyson St., Denver) and liquor stores along the Front Range.

Call to Arms Brewing Co. isn’t the only business reconsidering its branding in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A restaurant in Austin, Texas, formerly called Russian House dropped the word “Russian” from its name (it’s now The House) in a show of solidarity with Ukrainians, the Austin-American Statesman reported.

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