Indian River Light Beer: "At Last, a Beer Native to Manhattan"

In advertising, American Indian, heartland brewery, women by Adrienne K.Leave a Comment

 (image via

My friend Kayla pointed me (via her friend Tia’s Facebook) to Heartland Brewery, straight out of hipster-haven Brooklyn, NY, and their beer called “Indian River”. Here is the picture that Tia snapped of their advertisement at a bus stop in Manhattan:

If you can’t read it, it says “accents of orange, no pulp” and “At last, a beer native to manhattan”.

So lets break this down a little: sexualized woman, most likely not Native, wearing very little clothing, and what she is wearing is sterotypical fringed buckskin, sporting “war paint”, a feather, a beer, and a shotgun. Also the bonus of using “native” in the tagline, in case we were unsure of what asthetic they were going for. This takes the cake for rolling about every stereotype ever into one advertisement. In my indignant googling, I found the Heartland Brewery website here.

After the jump, more upsetting labels and some analysis.

It appears they are equal opportunity stereotypers, because they also have labels that are disparaging to women:


Then they have multiple labels that are stereotypes of farmers/rural white Americans:

note the distinct lack of teeth, presence of overalls, and cross-eyed/crazy expressions. 
While I am completely aware that the farmer imagery is not ‘the same’ as the Native imagery, I put them up to offer a more complete picture of the company, and to demonstrate how they’re clearly trying to be “edgy” or “subversive” to get customers. but why does being edgy have to come at the expense of others?
They appear to be a fairly established presence in NYC, with multiple brewpub locations and about 10-15 beers, but it seems they are trying to maintain the local, quirky, hipster-y image. Which apparently hinges on otherizing, stereotyping, and disparaging images.
Overall, it’s incredibly upsetting that something like “Indian River” is deemed acceptable, and that New Yorkers walking around the city now have another false image implanted in their brains. It’s a vicious cycle.
If anyone wants to send the brewery a letter or email, they can be reached here:
1430 Broadway (at 40th St.) 7th Floor
New York NY 10018

(Thanks Kayla and Tia!)