'Cripple beer' adds fizz to Swedish disability debate

The Local Sweden
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'Cripple beer' adds fizz to Swedish disability debate

A Swedish rights group and an artists' collective have joined forces to launch the "Crip is Hip" campaign complete with "cerebral palsy beer" in a bid to change attitudes towards disabled people, not just at the pub.


"Crip comes from the English cripple and we're arguing that Crip is Hip - it is hip to be a cripple," Anders Westgerd at GIL told The Local about the initiative by the Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (Göteborgskooperativet för independent living – GIL) and culture collective Utopia.

The Crip is Hip campaign aims to challenge attitudes in society, arguing that those whose bodies work differently are forced into the fringes of society.

As part of this push, Crip is Hip has designed a beer entitled CP beer (an acronym for cerebral palsy, which is also an outdated insult used by Swedish youth). The beer was officially launched last week at a well-attended and lively party at Almedalen political week in Visby.

"The beer is a way of influencing opinion and taking space in society. Our operation is based on the presumption that we should make independent decisions and live our own lives," Westgerd told The Local.

The tasty Belgian brew's label carries the campaign's message.

"This beer is adapted for those of you with a disability. Designed to reach parts of the brain which aren't otherwise activated. Not for those of you who consume the beer, but among those whose prejudices complicate a simple visit to the pub."

The beer is in part intended to work as a form of certification for pubs who greet and treat disabled people fairly and which have full accessibility.

Westgerd underlined that the campaign is not about the beer itself but is part of an attempt to provoke and stimulate debate on the issues and difficulties that disabled people face in society.

But as a beer fan, Westgerd decided that if they were going to put in the work to make the brew, they might as well do a good job.

"We thought that we could either make a cheap beer or we could really go for it. The C in a CP also stands for the four grain varieties in the beer. We were aiming for a Boston Ale type brew. I think we succeeded," he said.

Last year, GIL made headlines with another campaign when it launched a doll billed as a "real retard" in local shops.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

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