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An American brewery has been forced to rethink its new line of beers, including ‘Black Beer Matters’ and 'Flint Michigan Tap Water’, following intense criticism.

In preparation for their big opening, Lakeville Brew Crew in Indiana came up with beer names that reflect – rather poorly – issues around social justice and racism.

The alcoholic beverages were to be named:

  • Flint Michigan Tap Water
  • Black Beer Matters
  • White Guilt
  • Mass Graves

Uh…

Initially, co-owner Jon Duncan told the South Bend Tribune that the beer named after the Flint water crisis was to raise awareness:

If you’re going to get mad about that beer name, you should focus your anger more towards the people that are letting that happen to flint. If I can bring some attention to that, whether it’s negative attention towards me, it still brings attention to that issue.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency found dangerous levels of lead in the water at Flint residents’ homes, prompting a state-wide water crisis. Lead consumption detrimentally impacts the heart, kidneys and nerves.

Michigan city’s mayor claimed that race and class were factors in the authorities’ slow and allegedly dishonest response. A blight on the country’s image, thousands of residents were left without much clean water.

Needless to say, Duncan's initial statement fell short, and people took to the budding brewery’s Facebook page to criticise them.

One person wrote:

I will never drink your beer because you have shown absolutely no class, compassion, or sensitivity in naming your beers.

Another said:

What kind of company would ever think it would be OK to name a beer Black Beers Matter? I hope your business collapses over senseless shit like this!

The intensity of criticism prompted the brewery to rethink their beer names. In a statement on their Facebook page, they wrote:

Over the last few days, Lakeville Brew Crew has received a swarm of responses regarding our proposed beer names.

The greatest majority of those responses have expressed disapproval and noted the short-sightedness of our marketing plan. During this time, we have had numerous conversations about the best way to move forward with the partnership.

The first thing that we had to do was accept that we made mistakes.

We neglected to put ourselves in the shoes of other people. As a result of ongoing conversations, the list of beer names has been wiped clean. New names will be developed, this time with a greater sense of social awareness and empathy.

We will continue to use this new framework to consider the message that we're putting in front of the public, our customers, our employees, and current and future relationships. We appreciate the honesty of all the responses that we received and we hope that the public will afford us the grace to move forward while keeping a greater sense of community in mind.

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