Summertime is here, and that involves heaps of new craft beers with increasingly creative names. A brewery opening in Lakeville, Indiana, this fall has decided to jump on the bandwagon by naming its beers after controversial topics—like the Flint water crisis that happened nearly 200 miles away.
Update 7/19/18 8:18 a.m.: Co-owner Rodney Chlebek of Lakeville Brew Crew told Earther that after much reflection, they’ve “trashed the beer names,” including the Flint-themed one. “We found that they were inappropriate, to say the least,” he said. The original story of the beer names follows.
Beer names include Flint Michigan Tap Water, Black Beer Matters, White Guilt, and Mass Graves.
All these poor-taste names point to some kind of racial issue, but the Flint one feels especially wrong given that the water crisis continues to affect the city of 100,000. Who wants to drink Flint Michigan Tap Water? Definitely not the people of Flint who haven’t been able to drink their own water since 2014.
The Black Beer Matters name will be used for stouts because they’re not popular beers, but they’re good, and they matter, per the South Bend Tribune. Apparently, black beer suffers from the same kind of discrimination as black people. Poor beer, I guess?!?
The owners—Jon Duncan and Rodney Chlebek, two white guys—hope the names stir conversation.
“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 South Bend Tribune. “If I can bring some attention to that, whether it be negative attention toward me, it still brings attention to that issue.”
OK, but people in Flint need money to fix their infrastructure, not the fleeting sympathy of a dude ordering a beer. How much money from these beer sales is going back to Flint? Earther has reached out to the owners for comment and will update when we hear back.
A different brewery back on Flint’s turf in Michigan has voiced its disgust with these names. Eternity Brewing Co., which had front row seats to the crisis in Flint, knows lead exposure is nothing to make light of.
“If the intent of Lakeville Brew Crew is to raise awareness of the Flint water crisis, perhaps owners instead should encourage patrons to donate to the United Way of Genesee County’s Flint Water Fund,” Dayna Tran, co-owner of Eternity Brewing, told the Detroit Free Press.