Political PR Stunt Sinks Brewery Partnership
No, you can’t get free beer for being a British Trump supporter.
In the craft beer community, partnerships between breweries are pretty common. Whether it’s brewers getting together to exchange and cross-promote their pints or working together on new creations, those collaborations can help breweries get new ideas and cross-pollinate their audiences. This week, though, it sounds like a politically-charged misunderstanding may have sunk one such transatlantic team-up before it even got off the ground.
You might already know of BrewDog, a Scottish beer company. It's not hard to get an idea of BrewDog's political affiliations after its 2017 efforts to draw attention to climate change and immigration by brewing beer with melting ice cap water and construct a bar that would straddle the US-Mexico border respectively. This month, they’d organized a series of tasting events across the UK with Scofflaw, an Atlanta, Georgia brewery. Everything sounded ready to go until Scofflaw announced that the southern brewery would get British bar patrons “beered up redneck style completely free of charge," but only if they professed to be Trump supporters.
Obviously that surprise announcement didn’t sit well with BrewDog founder James Watt, who quickly scuttled the events. The brewery then took to Twitter to distance itself from Scofflaw’s MAGA-fication of the event.
That’s far from where the story ends, though. Scofflaw says the whole Trump angle was concocted by their British-based PR agency Frank without the Atlanta brewery’s prior knowledge or consent. According to the BBC, Scofflaw owner Matt Shirah released a statement saying that he was “appalled by the inaccurate posts concocted this morning" and that “we could care less about your political viewpoint, only if you like our beer."
The point was further emphasized on Twitter.
To their credit, Frank owned up to and apologized for the mistake by throwing a single employee under the bus.
For now, it’s unclear if Scofflaw will be reintegrated into any tasting events with BrewDog or if their beer will be stocked at BrewDog locations in Europe. However, the Scottish brewer is seizing on the opportunity to at least give away some free beer to those who had been looking forward to the event. All you have to do for a free IPA is tell a bartender that you support love and not hate. Now that’s something worth drinking to.