Society

New York Brewery Criticized For 'Racist' Beer Slogan

| by Jared Keever

A New York City brewery is receiving some intense criticism for a beer slogan that patrons and others say is racist.

Heartland Brewery’s seasonal Bavarian Black Lager promises customers they will “be a slave to the flavor.”

Kirsten John Foy of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network called the slogan “absolutely inappropriate, offensive and intentionally provocative.”

“At a time when race relations are at the heart of the national and local discourse, Heartland Brewery has decided to evoke the pain and trauma of our nation’s most shameful and hateful legacy and use it as a cheap marketing ploy,” Foy said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News

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But the brewery’s owner, Joel Bloostein, says the brewery has used the slogan for years and no one has complained before.

As Raw Story points out, the beer’s marketing materials evoke images of sexual domination. The beer is served in a pint glass featuring a dominatrix, clad in leather and holding a whip. 

“Connecting the world ‘black’ in Bavarian Black Lager to black people is incredibly farfetched,” Bloostein said. “Alleging any connection to racism is ridiculous.”

That doesn’t matter, says blogger C.A. Pinkham in a story that ran on Jezebel

Pinkham acknowledges that Bloostein likely meant nothing racist by the slogan, but says that because people have been insulted by it, he should change it. 

“The decent thing to do at this point would be for Heartland to say ‘Oops, we f****d up, we're going to fix it, and we're sorry,’” Pinkham writes.

Others just shrugged off the whole matter, like Heartland customer Taryn Harris.

“It’s a beer,” Harris said. “I didn’t interpret it (in a racist way). People are slaves to whatever they like. They’re a slave to their addictions, be it food or sex. That’s how I interpreted it, as an addiction, not anything else.”

Sources: New York Daily NewsRaw StoryJezebel / Photo Credit: Facebook/Heartland Brewery, Richard Harbus/New York Daily News