You may not be able to find a bottle of Fok Hing Gin in London soon.
It was recently reported that a UK panel has instructed the Hong Kong distiller to change the name of its brand after it was found to be ‘offensive’. According to English tabloid Metro, the UK’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) has informed the owners of Fok Hing Gin to change the brand after ruling “the obvious the intention to shock and offend those who find swearing undesirable and unacceptable”.
Incognito Group Limited, the distiller that produced the gun in defence claims that the product is actually named after Fuk Hing Lane in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. It also adds the title was an English romanisation of a Chinese phrase that translated as “fortune and prosperity”.
The issues however stem from the distiller taking a tongue-in-cheek approach with the name of its gin in its marketing. According to the complaint filed, the brand has used “fok off” and “fokthehaters” in its marketing commentary.
What’s In A Name?
Fok Hing Gin isn’t the only spirit label that has courted controversy in recent weeks. Across the causeway, the award-winning Malaysian made Timah whiskey found itself in the centre of a firestorm when various quarters slammed the label over its name.
The complaints largely stem from the using of the Malay word “Timah”, which some quarters believe will confuse Muslims as it bears the short form of the Malay name “Fatimah”. Complaints were also raised about the illustration on the bottle, which they deemed resembled a Muslim man wearing a kopiah (religious cap).
However the whiskey maker has already clarified repeatedly in its marketing that the name “Timah”, was a direct reference to tin, harking to the mining era during colonial times. The figure on the bottle is Captain Speedy, a renowned personality of that era.
Nevertheless despite the controversy, and pressure from various groups as well as politicians, the Malaysian government has allowed the distiller to maintain the brand name of Timah for its award-winning spirit.
Donkey Piss, Porn Vodka And Other Offensive Spirits
Think Fok Hing Gin and Timah Whiskey have issues? Check out some of these spirit brands that have managed to draw a fair bit of criticism and also giggles with their ‘unique’ names — and certainly left a lasting impression on many.
Big Coq Ventoux Rouge
To be completely fair, the wine makers are referencing a rooster here. According to a description by Calais Wine Superstore, “Big Coq can be enjoyed with friends, at relaxed family gatherings or nibbling peanuts while watching village cricket in the sun. The ideal partner for pecking at cold meats and sausages or enjoyed on its own as an aperitif.” Let’s just take their word for it, shall we?
Krugmann the German spirit maker has consistently made suggestive themes as part of their labelling process for their spirits. Porn Vodka was one such creation, which the company describes as “an exclusive drink for those who know exactly what they want”.
Ron de Jeremy Rum (discontinued)
Speaking of porn, legendary adult star Ron Jeremy also threw his name into the spirit game with his own label in 2011. Labelled as an ‘adult rum’, Ron de Jeremy Rum was described as a well-balanced Panamanian rum with notes of oak and sugar cane, and with a fruity, spicy finish. Not too shabby for a guy whom Guinness World Records names as the man with the most adult film appearances (it’s over 2,000 by the way).
The rum’s scandalous qualities don’t end there. Following allegations of the actor’s sex crimes and assault in 2020, as well as his subsequent jailing, the rum brand has been discontinued and rebranded as Hell Or High Water rum by One Eyed Spirits, its parent company.
Belching Beaver Me So Honey
The puny approach to the name for its Honey Blonde Ale, may take away the fact that it’s one of this brewery’s best-selling beers. According to Belching Beaver, the ale is made with the finest quality honey, which produces floral notes and a sweet lingering finish.
Donkey Piss Tequila
Despite the name, this release by Libation Nation is described as an ‘ultra-premium’ tequila. According to the distributor, although the name is fun, the taste is rather serious. “At Libation Nation we know that not all tequila is created equally. So we made a tequila that was fun to order and excellent to drink.”
Stiffy’s Jaffa Cake Vodka
Stiffy’s shared a similar problem with Fuk Hing Gin as it was also ordered a name change following a complaint in the UK. This came despite the producer of the vodka (Stiff’s Shots Ltd), claiming it was named not because of a sexual connotation but rather after Stiffy – the nickname of a person involved in the drink’s development. The defence fell on deaf ears and the company soon changed its name to Stivy’s a short time later.
(Main and featured image: fokhinggin.com)