In response to the recent Ashes cricket controversy, Victoria Bitter, an iconic Australian beer, has playfully poked fun at England with a limited-edition run of beer called “England Bitter.”
Following the controversial Ashes stumping incident that drew heated reactions from England, Victoria Bitter (VB), a popular Australian beer brand, has responded with humor. The incident occurred when Jonny Bairstow was controversially stumped in the second Test of the 2023 Ashes series.
Bairstow left his crease after ducking a delivery from Cameron Green, only for Australia’s Alex Carey to underarm the ball at the wicket, resulting in Bairstow’s dismissal. The move led to a negative response from the Lord’s crowd, with boos and chants of “same old Aussies, always cheating,” suggesting that the dismissal wasn’t in the spirit of cricket.
The incident caused tensions and confrontations between Australian players and members of the Marylebone Cricket Club. Numerous individuals, including current and former players and even the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, voiced their opinions on the matter.
England’s coach, Brendon McCullum, who is of New Zealand origin, expressed his displeasure with the Australians’ behavior, stating that he wouldn’t be sharing celebratory drinks with them. He remarked, “I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer with them anytime soon.”
In response to the controversy, Victoria Bitter decided to release a limited-edition beer called “England Bitter.” The beer’s label was changed to reflect its new name, and VB promised to send several slabs of the beer to the England cricket team to enjoy once they’ve “cooled off.”
“We know the English are bitter about the Lord’s Test, but when they’re feeling less bitter, we’ve got a beer to shout at them … our fresh new England Bitter,” said VB marketing manager Marc Lord.
The beer company also released a modified version of a jingle: “You can get it not protecting your stumps, you can get it by ignoring the umps – Victoria Bitter for the English.”
Carlton and United Breweries, the parent company of VB, took out full-page ads in Australian newspapers to promote their cheeky new product ahead of the Headingley Test.
Aussie fans at Headingley will also have the opportunity to get free “England Bitter” T-shirts.
The third Test at Headingley holds significant importance for Australia, as a win would secure their first Ashes series victory in England in 22 years. Even a draw in the Test would mean the Australians retain possession of the Ashes trophy.
The Australian team would announce its lineup at the toss, and the Test match is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. AEST.
Victoria Bitter’s playful response adds a touch of humor to the cricket rivalry and controversy, showcasing the lighter side of sportsmanship.