A brewery’s decision to release a pair of beers with a Crips and Bloods theme was a "dumb idea,' the owner has since admitted.
Mirage Beer, a Seattle-based brewery, had previously announced on social media that they would be releasing the two new beers — called "Snitch Blood" and "Where You From" — in cans decorated to look like the red and blue bandanas worn by the rival gangs. The post was later deleted after reportedly receiving negative backlash, and comments appeared to be disabled for the brewery's newest post.
WARNING: MESSAGE CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE
Screenshots of the original post reveal the Where You From beer was a New England-style IPA, and Snitch Blood was a New England-style double IPA. The company posted a brief apology on their Instagram page, which reads, “Full agree those labels were a dumb idea. Still going to release the beers, but obviously with new names, and all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
While the original post has been deleted, several comments have recently appeared on the account's other posts. One user said, "I'll say it again since you deleted my comment. Disabling and deleting comments is cowardly."
Mirage later posted a link to a full apology to Medium.com from their owner, Michael Dempster, which said, “I’m glad my error was pointed out, and that the beer community helped avert their release, but the situation also warrants a considered apology.”
“First, they were cavalierly created in poor taste, and I feel awful that I hurt or angered anyone,” the apology continues. “I also want to thank members of the beer community for forcefully saying, ‘check your privilege,’ as I clearly needed that check. Your responses give me hope for this industry, and kept me from making an even bigger mistake: actually using those stupid labels and letting them hit shelves, where they could then hurt, anger, or disenfranchise anyone who passed them.”
He continued to say that he regrets “the obvious element of appropriation” and trivializing “the impact of gang violence on marginalized communities.”
“I hope to further demonstrate my remorse in a way folks find meaningful, emphasizes the importance of inclusivity in beer, or otherwise helps prevent anyone from making similar mistakes,” Dempster continued. “Deservedly, I’ll now be an example of ‘how not to be,’ and I hope my example is used to educate others. If I can ever help in that effort, I’m available, and I’m always open to dialogue in person or by email.”
The statement then asks for suggestions for organizations that Mirage can donate to, aside from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Last July, a northern Indiana brewery found itself in a similar situation after announcing a line-up of beers that included names like “Flint Michigan Tap Water,” ‘‘Black Beer Matters,” ‘‘White Guilt” and “Mass Grave.” While the owners claim that they intended for the names to raise awareness to certain issues, they eventually pulled the names and issued an apology.
This post contained additional reporting by Frank Miles.