| F**k PG&E (?)
by Anthony J. Hill
Hi Bob and Friends -
I'm writing from just outside Santa Rosa, CA and we have a bit of a
beer controversy I'd like to share with you. One of our local
breweries, Shady Oak Barrel House, announced its newest beer via
Facebook last week: a “classic California pale ale, featuring
Cashmere and Simcoe hops and a touch of malt sweetness,” as well
as a striking name. The brew is called “F**k PG&E,”.
The name is obviously intended to illustrate the frustration many of
us Californians currently feel with the utility. Though the brewery’s
owner says he intended it as a gesture of solidarity for victims of
fires allegedly started by PG&E equipment, the beer’s name has
also angered many, causing a spate of one-star Yelp reviews for the
The post announcing the beer went up on November 16. Shady Oak
owner Steve Doty was then quoted in the newspaper that the brew
didn’t attract any attention for three of four days but then things
exploded. In one day the post generated 343 comments, many like
As a wife of a very hardworking, compassionate PG&E gas
serviceman who was born and raised in Santa Rosa, I find your new
beer label completely insulting. My husband has been working 18
hour days and not seeing his little boys for the past two weeks to
help our local community. Your label is hurting the men and women
that work day in and day out for their community. They are your
neighbors and they were your customers. You will not have our
business in the future. Please do yourself a favor and consider all
sides and parties before labeling your future beers. Also, do yourself
a favor and look up inverse condemnation.
And this one:
Not sure what genius thought this one up. I am a PG&E employee
and find this to be very distasteful. There are a lot of beer drinking
PG&E workers in the area, myself being one, that as of now will be
passing right by your establishment. Hope by the responses you are
receiving in this feed you realize what a big mistake this was. Then
again maybe not, someone did think this was a good idea to begin
Those commenters are getting it all wrong, Doty said. In a response
posted over the weekend, he says that “the name was not intended
to go after honest hard-working people that have been and still
currently ARE helping our community” but instead was “chosen in
some contempt for the corporation itself,” due to its alleged role in
several recent NorCal fires. “What inspired the name of this beer is
how the corporate bigwigs at PG&E chose to line their pockets and
ignore their responsibilities in their role that led to the destruction of
communities across California,” he said,
Doty however did post an apology to those upset by the beer name.
As a conciliatory gesture, he offered $1 off a beer for those with an
“honest review” on social media and $2 off a beer for PG&E
employees. But he said he is still standing by the name. While the
brewery typically rotates its lineup of beers on tap, Doty said he's
considering making an exception because of the popularity of the
Obviously people have the right to protest any legal way they want
and brewers are people too. Still I'm uncomfortable not only with the
profanity but with the seemingly blanket commendation of all
associated with PG&E. And let's me frank, the name isn't very
creative or witty. Lastly, let me add, I believe beer is for drinking not
a political tool.
Thanks Anthony for your article. You have brought many interesting
issues to the fore that our readers in and out of California will likely find
I appreciate the effort it took to write and send your article in. I'm glad
we could publish it.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer in any way just as Anthonydid. I select the best and
publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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