The pubs rewarded with 'cerebral palsy beer' for accessibility

  • 17 July 2013
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A bottle of CPA and a close-up of the label

In Gothenburg, Sweden, bars and restaurants with good disability access are being rewarded with beer instead of a more traditional certificate.

The specially brewed beer, dubbed CPA or cerebral palsy beer, is a hybrid of Indian pale ale and American pale ale and is described by the makers as "one that everyone will want to stock in their bar". The bottle features a stylised picture of a woman with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair.

The Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (GIL) is behind the beer campaign and hopes to take discussion about disability to new audiences.

"We like to cause a stir and make people react and create feelings," says GIL's Anders Westgerd. "Disabled people are marginalised in media and hence you have to do something non-traditional to create feelings and make people angry."

The beer helps to highlight the lack of access in the city's bars and restaurants. An equality law was passed in 2010 which should have seen level floor access and accessible toilets put in place but, Westgerd says, the laws were not enforced.

GIL's recent campaigns have been very creative. Last year they brought out a "retard doll", hoping people would choose to buy it and belittle it rather than patronise a real disabled person.

They also dotted 30 refrigerators around the city in February, each plastered with a quote from the movie Independence Day, such as: "This is not the time or place to have the same old discussion". The connection with disability issues? They say fridges are not a "sexy" subject and, like disabled people, are usually tucked away at home. Some may consider these to be sizeable leaps in logic but such stunts do get people talking.

Last month a UK survey revealed that almost eight out of 10 people could not name a disability charity. The poll by nfpSynergy took a sample of 1,000 people over the age of 16.

July's Ouch disability talk show debates whether UK charities and organisations are being creative enough when drumming up disability awareness - and there's a studio taste test of the Swedish brew.

Image caption GIL's Anders Westgerd with CPA beer and the charity's "retard dolls"

GIL's cerebral palsy beer was launched at the beer and whisky fair in Gothenburg this April where it was received positively.

Westgerd says: "At first we brewed a batch of about 220 litres, then we decided that as people really liked it, it's high quality with a strong message, we should brew some more."

In the past few weeks they have taken delivery of a further 1,600 litres but Westgerd is unsure of the future of the innovative alcoholic offering. "We're a disability organisation and we haven't decided yet whether we want to branch out into being a full-time beer maker too."

Additional reporting by Emma Tracey

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