Image: Beer bottled in stuffed animals
Dave Branfield  /  Brewdog
The End of History is billed as the strongest, most expensive and most shocking beer in the world by its Scottish makers.
By
msnbc.com
updated 7/23/2010 11:51:23 AM ET 2010-07-23T15:51:23

You'd expect a lot from a bottle of beer costing $765. What you get is 55 percent alcohol — and served in a squirrel.

According to Scottish firm BrewDog, "The End of History" is the "strongest, most expensive and most shocking beer in the world."

Just 12 bottles were made and the company has already sold out. They will be shipped out to buyers in the United States, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Scotland and England next week.

The dead animals which were used to create the beers' unusual appearance were four squirrels, seven weasels and a hare. All were roadkill, James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, told msnbc.com.

The name of the blond Belgian ale is taken from the title of a book by philosopher Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History and the Last Man" which the company said had been chosen to imply "this is to beer what democracy is to history."

Watt said the beer should be treated with care when drinking.

"It tastes more like a whisky and you have got to handle it in that way as opposed to the way you would handle a normal beer," he told msnbc.com.

It contains juniper berries and nettles, and its taste, Watt said, has hints of cinnamon, orange and an "American hops flavor."

He said this was the last in a series of high-strength beers that the company had produced and there were no plans to go higher.

'Degrading' to animals
The decision to wrap the bottle in a dead animal was taken to indicate how special the beer was, blending brewing, taxidermy and "art."

"We were making such a tiny amount that we wanted to do something epic," Watt told msnbc.com. "We wanted to challenge people's perceptions about how beer can be packaged; taxidermy helps open people's eyes to the fact that beer doesn't have to be made by a multi-national organization."

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However the decision was described by Ross Minett, campaigns director for the U.K. charity Advocates for Animals, as "terribly out of date" and "degrading" for the animals.

"The modern approach is to celebrate the wonders of animals and respect them as individual sentient creatures," he said, according to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper. "I'm sure this would have much greater appeal with the animal-loving public."

Asked about animal rights concerns, Watt said: "It was all roadkill we got from a taxidermist. They are all animals that were dead anyway. We think to use dead animals in this way is much better than for them to be left to rot on the roadside."

One of the buyer, Blake Coleman, of New York, told msnbc.com he had bought a "stoat" — another name for a weasel — beer.

"The reason I purchased the beer was solely because it came in a taxidermic case," he said. "The humor of the packaging is what persuaded me to commit to the purchase, besides the only other taxidermic 'thing' I have is a jackalope."

"However an added bonus — major added bonus — is that it contains the world's strongest 'beer' for now. All in all, I'm a craft beer enthusiast who appreciates BrewDog's cheeky direction," he added.

"I do plan on drinking the beer, yet I have not hammered out the details. I can tell you as of right now, I plan on gathering other craft beer enthusiasts to enjoy the beer, but there is no set time frame for that to happen."

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