In his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde wrote “[T]here is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” With all respect to Wilde, we think that it’s slightly worse when people are talking about you, writing about you, and full-on dragging you for being insensitive, racist assholes.
Earlier this week, the owners of a brewery in Lakeville, Indiana, decided to announce the names of its brews in advance of its opening later this year. Co-owners Jon Duncan and Rodney Chlebek were pretty psyched about what would be on tap at the Lakeville Brew Crew, eagerly telling the South Bend Tribune that it would serve craft beers called “Flint Michigan Tap Water,” “Black Beer Matters,” “White Guilt” and “Mass Graves.”
“The way I look at it—with the ‘Flint Michigan Tap Water’—if you’re going to get mad about that beer name, you should focus your anger more toward the people that are letting that happen to Flint,” Duncan told the news outlet. “If I can bring some attention to that, whether it be negative attention toward me, it still brings attention to that issue.”
Oh, let’s keep going on the Dipshittery Express, shall we? Duncan explained that Black Beer Matters will be a stout, because stouts are less popular, “but they are good beers and they matter.” Their Russian Imperial Stout was dubbed Mass Graves because Duncan believes that “Stalin has mass graves all over Russia,” and they went with White Guilt for the Belgian White because their dumb ideas made some of their friends uncomfortable.
“If people can come and talk to us about [the names], that would be fine […] None of this is done out of hate, none of this is done out of making fun of it,” Duncan said. “That was to bring awareness to the issues.”
Uh, no. What this has done is bring awareness to these two Chads—whose “awareness” did not include actually helping those causes that they maligned; there were no plans to donate to Flint-related charities, to the ACLU—or, really, to anything. “Will these beer names bring the right kind of attention to Lakeville Brew Crew?” Beer Advocate asked on a discussion thread. The answer was a pretty emphatic FUCK NO. “Tone deaf if we're being diplomatic,” one commenter wrote. “Incredible fucking knuckledragging stupidity if I'm being honest.”
So yeah, the reaction was almost unanimously negative, and the Lakeville Brew Crew has since deleted its social media profiles. (Also, if you go full armchair-vigilante, these guys are NOT connected to Minnesota’s Lakeville Brewing Co.)
Four days later, the brewery started backtracking hard. “During this time, we have had numerous conversations about the best way to move forward with the partnership. The first thing that we had to do was accept that we made mistakes,” Duncan and Chlebek said in a statement. “We neglected to put ourselves in the shoes of other people. As a result of ongoing conversations, the list of beer names has been wiped clean.”
“The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius,” Wilde wrote. These two dummies better hope he was right.