An Alpharetta-based brewery faced social media backlash this week for the name and image associated with one of its newer beers.
Currahee Brewing Company released an imperial stout called “The Boogaloo” in March.
Members of the “boogaloo” anti-government movement “use an ’80s movie sequel as a code word for a second civil war,” and “carry high-powered rifles and wear tactical gear, Hawaiian shirts and leis,” according to an Associated Press article.
The group has reportedly been a presence at recent events protesting some state’s COVID-19 lockdown orders. “Boogaloo bois” were also reportedly in the crowd at several protests around the country over the weekend in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man killed by police there over Memorial Day weekend.
The image used to brand Currahee’s Boogaloo beer shows a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Brewery co-owner Brandon Hintz told Smoky Mountain News that he can “understand why some people are upset about it” and that he’s “disappointed in myself for not knowing, [not] taking more steps when we named the beer to figure out kind of more of the meaning, not just going off a couple of things you see on the internet.”
He said the concept for the beer came out of protests over anti-gun legislation that took place in several states at the beginning of the year.
The brewery also addressed the issue in a statement on its Facebook page, saying they “never intended to be associated with any sort of Hate Group or racist agenda, and appreciate in advance your consideration as we attempt to right what was, given the very recent events, clearly a mistake. We sincerely apologize from the bottom of our heart for any wrong doing that our unintentional naming of this beer may have caused communities.”
The Alpharetta Currahee location opened in May 2018 in the former Hop Alley Brewpub space on South Main Street in downtown Alpharetta. The first Currahee debuted in Franklin, North Carolina in July 2016.
When contacted via email, Hintz provided a written statement to the AJC:
“It was brought to our attention that one of our beers that we created in January, “Boogaloo” is being used by a certain White Nationalist Group. Various news outlets are now reporting that, unbeknownst to us, the term and some of the imagery of the branding that we used is being cast-off by a White Nationalist Hate Group to represent themselves. Immediately upon being made aware of this unintentional use of the name and branding, we pulled all beer and any branding associated with it.
Everyone here at Currahee finds any and all forms of racism or any form of hate, morally reprehensible. We believe everyone should be treated as equals, no matter their race, religion or political view. And with the civil unrest happening around the country right now, the last thing we want to see is more violence, property destruction, or worse, death. We do though believe in every person’s right to peaceful protest. Our hearts break for friends and families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all others that have been affected by these travesties. We too, are extremely saddened and frankly enraged by these racially motivated and clearly unlawful events that seem to continuously and unjustly occur in our communities, particularly to those African-American communities, around the country. For Currahee to have any association to a word that is now used by a racist group, we deeply apologize as it was severely unintentional.
Our brand’s unintended association with a racially motivated group is simply not representative of the core values of Currahee and we do not condone hate groups or racism of any kind. We will use this as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive, which is why we made the decision to use the funds from the beer to benefit civil rights groups working for systematic and meaningful change in our society. We sincerely apologize for any hurt or pain this might have caused our communities.”
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