Denver’s Call to Arms Brewing Announces Name Change to Shirtless Putin Series

Founded with the intent of keeping beer fun, Call to Arms Brewing has always made a point of not taking itself too seriously. From last year’s viral “Beer Slide Challenge”, to playful parodies like their Ballroom Beer campaign, extending to pop-culture inspired beer names like Janet Reno’s Dance Party, More Like Bore-O-Phyll, and Oats and Hos, the team behind Call to Arms has always aimed to brew tremendous beer, while also throwing one helluva party along the way.

However, in light of Russia’s recent escalation toward war against Ukraine, the Denver-base brewery has announced the decision to re-brand one of its flagship beers, Shirtless Putin Catchin’ Rays. Originally, the “Shirtless Putin” series debuted in 2016 with the release of Shirtless Putin Nuzzling with Dolphins, a barrel-aged Imperial Baltic Porter with coffee, aimed at parodying the ridiculousness of Russian propaganda featuring a shirtless President Putin. Over the years, the series grew to include Shirtless Putin on Horseback and the the aforementioned Shirtless Putin Catchin’ Rays, a Dark Czech Lager. And while the series’ original intent was serve as a pointed criticism of Russian propaganda, Call to Arms founder Chris Bell notes that the brewery does not want the name to be misconstrued in any way as supporting the Russian president or his actions.

“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 agression against Ukraine,” said Bell. “As a result, we no longer feel it is appropriate to reference Putin on our beers regardless of the original intent of the series.”

While a replacement name has yet to be identified, Bell and the Call to Arms team have begun the process of re-branding the beer. In the interim, Call to Arms has teamed up with their wholesale partner, Two Six Craft Distributors to donate $1 from every six pack sold from Call to Arms’ Dark Czech Lager will be donated to UNICEF’s children of Ukraine fund until the brewery is able to work through its current inventory and transition into new labels.

“It’s always been a priority to keep beer fun, but for us, it’s been even more paramount to use beer as a vehicle for positive change, said Bell. “So we felt we could use this opportunity to preemptively clear up any confusion while also supporting Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.”

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