Justin Sullivan -- Getty Images

Lakeville Brew Crew says its beer names have been “wiped clean.”

Mike Pomranz
July 19, 2018

When Jon Duncan, the co-owner of Indiana’s Lakeville Brew Crew, told a local journalist his plans to give his forthcoming brewery’s beers provocative names like “Flint Michigan Tap Water,” “Black Beer Matters,” and “White Guilt,” the decision was clearly meant to grab some attention. And it worked. The story went on to make national headlines. Now the question becomes, will his apology garner just as much attention—and can the brewery get past this tumultuous start?

The story broke on Sunday when, in a profile of the planned brewery, the South Bend Tribune included a number of quotes about these potentially polarizing beer names, and stated how they were meant to bring attention to these issues. We covered the story on Monday with a number of other outlets following suit, and it wasn’t long before Duncan realized that maybe he had attracted a bit more attention than he had bargained for.

In a statement posted last night on the Lakeville Brew Crew Facebook page and sent to the Tribune, which followed up on its original story, Duncan, along with co-owner and brewer Rodney Chlebek, apologized for their initial naming concept.

The statement says, in its entirety: “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. We're sorry for our poor judgment.”

In his original interview with the South Bend Tribune, Duncan also said that he wants the brewery to be “all about beer.” Lakeville Brew Crew is now in a better position to prove that true.