Press Clips: Sexism in Craft Beer Rears Ugly Head


Controversial SweetWater Beer Pulled by Chicago Retailer

One Chicago retailer has opted not to sell SweetWater Brewing’s imperial stout known as “Happy Ending” over what its store manager called “sexist, borderline racist” label art, according to the Chicago Tribune. The label in question depicts a clear silhouette of a geisha and a box of tissues, an apparent allusion to the seedy practice of receiving sexual favors at massage parlors. According to the article, the Binny’s Beverage Depot in Lincoln Park sent back three cases of the beer, which is packaged in 22 oz. bottles. Lakeshore Beverage, SweetWater’s wholesaler in the area, told the Tribune that no other store declined to stock the beer.

“Breweries: One thing I simply do not tolerate in my department is sexist or racist beer labels,” the store’s manager, Adam Vavrick, tweeted in light of his decision to not stock the beer. “I demand better and will not carry them.” SweetWater founder Freddy Bensch told the Tribune that the label is meant merely as a harmless joke and that he’d never heard a complaint in the beer’s 8-year run. He added, however, that the brewery would somehow remedy the situation. “We’re going to be thoughtful about it and make it right,” he said.

Georgia House Passes Stripped-Down Beer Jobs Bill

The Georgia House voted overwhelmingly in favor of what has become known as the “Beer Jobs” bill last week, moving one step closer to legalizing take-home sales at breweries. Because the House made “extensive changes” to Senate Bill 63, the bill will now be sent back to the state Senate for approval before being sent off to the governor’s desk. Specifically, the House stripped language that granted brewpubs the ability to sell beer for off-premise consumption, according to a report from If passed, as is, the bill would allow visitors to pay for a brewery tour and in return take home up to a 6-pack of beer. The original intent of the bill was to lift the bans on both on- and off-premise consumption at breweries and allow for take-home sales at brewpubs.

Arizona Governor Signs Beer Production Bill

As reported by WRAL, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took a trip to Four Peaks Brewing yesterday to officially sign into law a bill that dramatically increases the state’s production cap for brewers that operate multiple locations. Senate Bill 1030 specifically allows for brewers to produce up to 200,000 barrels without forfeiting any of its secondary retail operations. Microbrewers had been limited to producing 40,000 barrels before giving up those additional retail privileges. (To be clear, they could produce more, but doing so would have just required they shut down or sell of their supplementary retail fronts). “Arizona has a booming craft beer industry and it’s growing every day,” Gov. Ducey told the news outlet. “I want to ensure that it continues to thrive, unimpeded by overly burdensome regulations.”

Qualcomm Stadium May Increase its Craft Beer Offerings

Qualcomm Stadium, home of the N.F.L.’s San Diego Chargers, may soon have more craft beer to offer fans. According to UT San Diego, the city is considering a new concessionaire for the stadium, which is currently under contract with Centerplate. The article states that the stadium primarily sells products from Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, and has a much smaller focus on craft (currently, the only craft beer sold at the stadium is from Green Flash and Oggi’s). “In an era of corporate sponsorship, it’s encouraging when you can get into very large venues, whether sports or any other entertainment venue,” Kevin Hopkins, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild and an executive with Mother Earth Brewing, told the website. Of course, this all hinges on the Chargers not up and leaving the city entirely.