Franklin, North Carolina-based Currahee Brewing Co. is apologizing for their latest creation; an Imperial Stout branded “The Boogaloo” that has some critics up in arms (figuratively speaking). Images of the beer can went viral over the weekend after the vice president of the Jackson County NAACP attended an outdoor concert at the brewery on Saturday night and saw the beer for sale.
He originally posted the image with a caption saying that Currahee owners “needed a throat punch.” He says he doesn’t believe in violence and apologizes for this language.
It went viral that night with comments flying between locals and Currahee.
Co-owner of Currahee, Brandon Hintz says he wasn’t aware of the racial connotations of the word until Saturday night. He says the planning for the beer started back in January when legislation restricting gun purchasing was moving through the Virginia legislature:
“So we were kind of playing with that,due to the fact that, you know, I’m a fairly avid sportsman. and we’re also very, you know, constitutionally oriented,” says Hintz.
By Sunday, the beer company, which also has a taproom in Alpharetta, Georgia, had posted a lengthy statement and explanation about why they went with the Boogaloo label in the first place, and why they decided to pull the beer from rotation.
“Various news outlets are now reporting that the term is being used by a white nationalist hate group to represent themselves. This racist hate group is reportedly causing destruction and possible violence in the otherwise peaceful protests around the country. Once we were made aware of this, we pulled all beer and any branding associated with the beer and will be disassociating ourselves with the term “Boogaloo” immediately.
“We find any and all forms of racism or any form of hate, morally reprehensible. We believe everyone should be treated as equals, no matter their race, religion or political view. And with the civil unrest happening around the country right now, the last thing we want to see is more violence, property destruction, or worse, death. We do though believe in every person’s right to peaceful protest. Our hearts break for friends and families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all others that have been affected by these travesties. We too, are extremely saddened and frankly enraged by these racially motivated and clearly unlawful events that seem to continuously and unjustly occur in our communities, particularly to those African-American communities, around the country. For Currahee to have any association to a word that is now used by a racist group, we deeply apologize as it was severely unintentional. Unfortunately it was not known to us when we named the beer and designed the logo back in January, then released it back in March, that there was any form of racism associated to the term or else we would have never thought of naming the beer that or insinuating any sort of association with it.”
The owners of Currahee say the name of the beer came about as a response to the push for gun control in Virginia, as well as the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement that swept across the state as tens of thousands of gun owners lobbied their local governments to take a stand in opposition to Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control agenda.
“Back in January, there was legislation being proposed in the state of Virginia that would have stripped law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights. Like others who express their opinions peacefully, it was something we disagreed with given the circumstances of that proposed amendment. While, I, myself didn’t serve in the Armed Forces, we have countless family members and friends who did, who took an oath to uphold our Constitution rights. Rights that we hold dear. From the first – 27th, not just the more controversial second.
When Virginia proposed the new laws that would have all but done away with one of our country’s foundational amendments, tens of thousands of people gathered to peacefully protest the laws. As a result of those peaceful protests, that particular legislation was not passed in Virginia.
As a representation of that simple, peaceful protest resulting in the upholding of the Second Amendment in Virginia, we made a label for our recently brewed Imperial Stout, depicting George Washington in modern attire, with a Gadsden Flag on it as the focal point. While thinking about a name, we found some information and memes depicting the term “boogaloo.” After seeing some more items on boogaloo, we understood that it was a saying, more or less, objecting to the oppression and potential over-reach of a government, whether that’s the state or federal government, which is why we went with it.
We even thought that with what’s happening in the world now, it was still somewhat fitting. After learning of what we know now, specifically given our involuntary association with said hate groups, we were obviously mistaken. It was clearly never our intention to side with any hate groups, but simply to express our opinion, like many of our fellow citizens do, that we oppose any government oppression and seek the same liberties and freedoms for all people of our nation.”
If “Boogaloo” is being used by a white nationalist hate group, they may have appropriated the phrase, but they certainly didn’t come up with it themselves. “Boogaloo” started out as simple Internet shorthand for a civil war, and a nod to the campy cult classic from the 1980s “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo.” As NPR noted just a few days ago:
While the film is now remembered fondly, the phrase “Electric Boogaloo” has been used for over a decade as shorthand for an unnecessary sequel. “You see this all the way back to the second Bush reelection, [for example], George Bush 2: Electric Boogaloo,” says James Stone Lunde, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley’s history department who is preparing a paper on right wing internet culture.
Note that the general connotation for using the phrase is when you’re referring to an unnecessary sequel. While I’m sure there are many Boogaloo Boys who may be eager for another civil war, I’ve always heard “the Boogaloo” used as shorthand for an armed response against government tyranny, not as a call to start a race war.
Regardless of the original intent of the phrase, Currahee Brewing Company says it “never intended to be associated with any sort of hate group or racist agenda,” and now plans on donating any proceeds from sales of the beer to “”civil rights organizations and to help families affected by the unjust killings, destruction, and riots around the country.”