The organisers of the first Black beer festival in the US have called on people to boycott a local brewery amid accusations of ‘disgusting’ racism.
Barrel and Flow: Black Arts on Tap made history with its launch in 2018, originally branded as Fresh Fest. After 1,200 guests in its first year, it pulled in 3,400 for its second and earned nationwide plaudits.
However, this year’s festival on September 11 was allegedly ruined by the general manager of Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh, the organisers have claimed.
As per a Barrel and Flow Facebook post, the manager allegedly shouted racial slurs in a ‘fit of rage’. While the manager has since been suspended pending a full investigation, the organisers are calling for him to be fired and people to boycott the brewery.
‘Still working to get to the bottom of things, but didn’t want to ignore the atrocious RACISM of Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh during Barrel and Flow Fest and apologise to the staff, artists, and attendees affected by it,’ it reads.
‘Despite sitting down with the [general manager] to explain the purpose of the event and invite them to participate, HBH refused to do so. [He] instead chose to harass us throughout the planning and execution of the fest. [He] made several complaints regarding the music, despite us having a permit and giving ample notice.
‘At some point he came out and exploded in a fit of rage, dropping racial slurs at artists and Hearcorp staff. He later called the police, who were too busy to staff the event but had time to make an appearance for this frivolous complaint.’
We are asking that folks refrain from supporting this establishment until disciplinary action is taken against this employee by HBH Pittsburgh. Any help contacting someone of power within the organisation to discuss this incident would be greatly appreciated.
Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh also released a statement, which reads, ‘We celebrate all facets of diversity, equity and inclusion for our customers, staff, overall operations, our SouthSide Works neighbours and the greater Pittsburgh community.
‘We take all complaints seriously and are currently investigating those specific to last weekend’s Barrel and Flow Fest. At this time, we are listening and gathering feedback from all levels and perspectives in order to ensure customers, guests of our neighbours and members of our community feel safe and welcome at Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh at all times.’
In a further statement, the brewery said it was ‘retaining an outside and independent law firm’ as it continued its investigation.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
Barrel and Flow Fest/Facebook