*Update Friday 14 September*
In the last 24 hours we have had a chance to re-gather our thoughts on yesterday’s events. Our original apology can still be found below, here we have a few things to add.
First off, we are absolutely genuinely sorry for our actions. It’s been a real wake up call for us, who for the most part live in our little bubble on the Gold Coast and forget that we are part of a broader, forward-thinking industry. We feel we have set the industry back more than a few notches, which is the exact opposite of everything we’ve tried to do from day one.
Yesterday after we realised we had stuffed up, we very quickly pulled it down and put up an apology. It wasn’t perfect, but we wanted to very quickly show that we understand we stuffed up and that we were sorry for the mistake.
Firstly our apology is not just about the beer name itself, it’s for the whole thing, including the copy that accompanied the post, which a lot of people, understandably felt particularly disgusted with.
From day one Black Hops has felt a lot of love from the craft beer community. We’ve always kept the craft community in our minds in trying to promote the product and were horrified to think people in that community have been hurt through our actions. We can see quite clearly now that our actions were not OK and it’s hard to see how we couldn’t have seen it before. We are all doing some soul searching on that front. There are some obvious blind spots here on our part, that we will address.
In our 2 years since opening we have made a lot of mistakes, this obviously being by far our biggest. We have tried to learn every time and not only that, share what we’ve learned to improve the industry. So in that spirit, we wanted to share a few things here to add to the conversation.
First of all, for us what started as 3 mates sitting around drinking beers, has grown very rapidly into a legitimate company that has challenges and responsibilities that are far bigger than ourselves. This growth has not come without its pain, and we have done some stupid things along the way, each time trying to learn and do better. This is a painful lesson for us and for people who were hurt by our actions. We are hopeful some good can come from it and it also be a lesson for others in the industry.
Misogynistic images, language and behaviour is not acceptable. It’s not OK in our behaviour, it’s not OK in our products, and it’s not OK in our actions at or away from work. This was not the intention of this beer release, but sometimes the behaviour is just as important as the intent and us announcing this beer was not OK. We hate the thought of women feeling out of place in any part of our industry, and we understand that our actions have resulted in exactly that.
Secondly while we appreciate that some people are feeling our pain and jumping to our defence, we don’t appreciate any kind of violent, offensive or hateful comments publicly or privately towards people speaking out against what we did. We are disgusted that some people have turned their support for us into attacks on others in the industry and we ask that this please stop. We are here admitting that we are in the wrong, and we are ready to move on and do better in the future.
To that end, we feel it’s not the right time to announce anything immediate. But we do promise to attempt to work towards becoming leaders in this industry for all the right reasons. All we ask is to be given the time to prove that we have learned a painful lesson and we can climb our way back up to drive this industry forward instead of dragging it down.
Today we stuffed up and we apologise.
Earlier today we posted a decal of our latest limited release beer which we have called Pussy Juice. As a new business we have an amazing dedicated team who work around the clock to help us make and promote our beer. After 1 year of service we give each staff member their own custom beer.
Normally we try to be a bit cheeky and creative with the beer names, styles and design. For our epic bar team leader, we worked on something that in hindsight pushed the boundaries a bit too far. Playing on her nickname AliCat as well as the words of a well known drink in the industry, and the ‘Juice’ referencing the beer style. She expected it to be seen as a pro-women celebration and something fun to mark her 1 year of service.
Our limited run cans are sold in small quantities and only at our taproom. People who know our taproom and know our epic team leader were excited about the beer, the name and the celebration of what she has done for us and the industry on the Gold Coast.
In this case every schooner and can would have been hand sold by the team member who, given her effervescent personality would have had a lot of fun doing so.
We also put a lot of work into our designs, having our illustrator hand draw the designs, and we do like to share what we do, so we were excited to share it on social media this morning.
A lot of the response has been positive, a lot has not been positive. In hindsight we can see that while people who know us, would get the references in the beer name, others who don’t, have got reason to be upset.
No one is more upset than our beloved AliCat. The beer was designed as a celebration her service and we certainly aren’t doing that.
As a new business, it’s been a lesson for us. We certainly weren’t trying to create anything viral or any kind of deliberate negative press. Anyone who knows us knows that we are all genuine supporters of the industry, women in the industry, diversity in the industry and also having a bit of fun in the industry. Today we got the balance wrong, and for that we apologise.
We’ve taken the post down and also taken the decision to not sell the beer under this name.