I hope all this makes sense… bear with me here.
Here’s What Happened
I guess I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows what this whole thing is about.
NOFX is a punk band from the 90s that released an album called Punk in Drublic. The album spawned a really fun collaboration with Stone brewing that was a beer with the same name. Not to quit with the creative ideas, the band also teamed up with some folks to put together a music festival and craft beer festival that used the Punk in Drublic moniker too. Middle aged former punk rockers across the country rejoiced in the idea of all of their favorite bands, gathering next to all their favorite breweries.
Until NOFX decided to be NOFX.
While playing a show in Vegas, the band (or more accurately two members of the band) made some incredibly shitty remarks about the recent terrorist attacks in the city. It was not too far off from what you would expect a band like NOFX to say, but when you’re trying to make business decisions, and work with other people… you’ve gotta understand that there are going to be consequences for things you do.
Immediately, Stone Brewing put out a release informing the world that not only did they A) not condone what was said. B) they have no desire to work with the band on any project – ever. They pulled their collaborative beer, they pulled their sponsorship from the event. In their own words:
We respect punk rock, and the DIY ethos for which it stands. To us, it means standing up for things you believe in, and fearlessly committing to what’s right.
The release from Stone points out that NOFX received no profits from the release of the beer, and that further more, Stone would release all profits that they made from it to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department Foundation.
NOFX and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies were immediately removed from the festival bill, and were replaced with other fantastic punk bands instead.
Locally, and nationally, beer drinkers and brewers, and music fans had to process what was going on.
What’s This Got To Do With Cincinnati?
Here, locally, we had four breweries that were participating in the Punk In Drublic Festival. MadTree, Swine City, Rhinegeist and Urban Artifact all had beer that they were sending to be poured at the event.
The response from the breweries that I have talked to has been pretty clear. Obviously no one locally supports what was said by Fat Mike and Eric Melvin. It’s not what craft beer is about, and it’s not what punk rock is about. But as a brewery, you’re now faced with a really touch decision. Do you pull your beer from an event, where your fans have paid their hard earned money to sample beer that they love. Do you let those people “suffer” through the choices that two aging punk rockers shouted out on stage?
Let me start this off with making it clear that I can relate to both decisions that a brewery would make. You can either:
- Pull your beer, potentially letting down both your fans and the people who have never tried your beer.
- Send your beer, making it clear that you aren’t supporting NOFX and what they said.
Urban Artifact made their stance on the whole thing pretty clear with a response on social media:
In light of recent comments made by NOFX, Urban Artifact will be pulling out of participation in Camp Punk in Drublic this weekend in Thornville, Ohio. We do not condone the comments made by NOFX and we will not associate our brewery with such individuals.
The brewery almost immediately separated themselves with the event completely and refused to be associated with an event that has this even remotely close to it. I applauded Urban for their decision, and I still applaud them. I can 100% understand why a brewery would want no part in a festival that has NOFX all over it, even if the band themselves have been removed from the music lineup.
The situation at MadTree went down a little differently over the course of about 3 and a half hours yesterday and after talking to Brady about how they made their decision… again… I applaud them for it.
They were alerted around 11am about the situation, listened to the comments and immediately considered pulling their beer from the event. It’s been made clear that this is not what MadTree is about, and isn’t something that they stand for. The decision internally was bounced around, and MadTree reached out to the festival organizers to ask if Fat Mike or NOFX was profiting from the event. The organizers assured MadTree that not only were they pulled from the music side, they would also no longer receive any profit from the festival.
With these facts in front of them, MadTree felt that the action was swift and appropriate and they decided to stay in the festival.
Two different responses, and both are responses that I support. I feel terrible for breweries and beer drinkers and music fans who bought tickets to this event only to be put into the situation.
What To Walk Away With
I spend a lot of time talking about what it means to “Be Gnarly” and what craft beer stands for.
Walk away with a better understand from this about who you are, who your breweries are and why they do what they do. Craft Beer is special. People who stand on a stage and act like that are not craft beer… they’re jerks. There isn’t a place for crappy people as this industry grows.
Don’t assume that just because a brewery is sending beer to an event that you don’t agree with that they are making a bad decision. Trust the breweries that you know and love, and trust that they are looking at things from every angle and trying to make the best choice for them, and for you and other beer drinkers.