Currahee Brewing Co., with locations in Alpharetta, Georgia, and Franklin, North Carolina, yanked a beer from its lineup this week after facing backlash over naming a new beer “the Boogaloo”. The term is now associated with an alt-right extremist movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Currahee co-owner Brandon Hintz claims the association with white nationalist extremists wasn’t intentional, but that he did mean to convey opposition to perceived government overreach in regards to Second Amendment rights.
The beer’s branding features an image of George Washington kitted in tactical gear and wearing a Hawaiian shirt as a waistcoat.
The Imperial stout in question was released in March during the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns across the country, the AJC reports. But its release ended up costing Currahee its membership in the Asheville Brewers Alliance, according to Blue Ridge Public Radio. The guild is apparently in the process of refunding Currahee’s dues and removing the brewery from its membership rolls for violating the organization’s bylaws due to the beer’s “offensive imagery.”
The racist, anti-government extremist movement took the term “boogaloo” from the 1980s cult movie, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, according to information from the Anti-Defamation League, using it as code for impending civil war if the government came for their guns and Second Amendment right to bear arms. Some far-right members, dubbed “boogaloo bois,” don Hawaiian shirts and arm themselves with military-style weaponry to attend protests and gun rights rallies. Members of the extremist anti-government movement have reportedly most recently shown up to protest COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, and Homeland Security is looking into reports these groups may have attended recent protests against police brutality over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Ah “the boogaloo”. I usually only see that referenced by people that shoot cans of white claw. I guess craft breweries are trying to get in on the fun. pic.twitter.com/sOGg46BfAf— Worst Beer Blog (@WorstBeerBlog) March 19, 2020
Hintz took to Facebook on Sunday to apologize and provide a lengthy explanation for the Imperial stout’s controversial name and imagery. Hintz claims he was unaware of the term’s association with racist hate groups, and says the name and branding for the beer were conceived back in January in response to gun-rights activists protesting at the Virginia state capital over their opposition to stricter proposed gun control legislation.
He says in the post that the proposed gun control measures would strip “law abiding citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights.” After researching information and memes using the term “boogaloo” in January, Hintz and his team chose the name as they “understood that it was a saying, more or less, objecting to the oppression and potential over-reach of a government.”
“Unfortunately it was not known to us when we named the beer and designed the logo back in January, then released it back in March that there was any form of racism associated to the term or else we would have never thought of naming the beer that or insinuating any sort of association with it,” a portion of the statement reads.
He realizes now naming the stout “boogaloo” was a mistake and says in the statement on Facebook that it wasn’t Currahee’s intention to “side with any ‘Hate Groups’.” The beer and its branding were merely meant to express an opinion regarding perceived government overreach, he says.
Hintz apparently plans to donate all of the profits from boogaloo beer to civil rights organizations and the families of victims killed or brutalized by the police.
Eater Atlanta reached out Tuesday evening to Currahee for comment, but has yet to receive a response. Currahee Brewing Co. is named for the motto used by the 506 Airborne Infantry Regiment. The regiment trains near Tocca, Georgia, at Currahee Mountain. The brewery opened the Alpharetta location two years ago. A third location is planned for Clayton, Georgia.