Scottish craft brewery Brewdog has pulled plans for a series of events with US brand Scofflaw this weekend - after the American beer makers apparently sent out a release saying that UK-based Donald Trump supporters would be given free beer.
In a press release sent to journalists around the country, Scofflaw said that the "self confessed trailer trash brewery" would get the UK "beered up redneck style completely free of charge". It added: "But there is a hook...you have to be a Trump supporter."
Ellon-based Brewdog last year created a beer which featured a polar bear fighting with a robot version of the American president on the label in protest of his environmental policies.
Brewdog customers took to social media to protest at the brewery's affiliation with the brand, prompting Brewdog founder James Watt to take to Twitter to announce that he would "send all of the beer back" to Scofflaw and cancel the events, which were due to take place in six of its bars in England.
He said: "The Scofflaw release was announced without our knowledge or consent. We are in no way aligned with their position and we will of course be cancelling all the events and sending all of the beer back. We care about beer and people. Not hate."
One shareholder in the company, which has an "equity for punks" scheme which allows customers to buy stakes in the business, said on Twitter: "As a holder of some equity I would love an official response on the comments about Scofflaw’s Trump sympathising please."
Brewdog replied to the customer, @dlordship, saying: "Hi Dave, we did not know anything about this. We are cancelling the events and are sending all of the beer back – Scofflaw beer won't be available in our bars."
A UK PR firm, Frank PR, later sent out a second statement claiming that the original email had contained "incorrect information" but did not respond to requests for an explanation as to how the "error" had occurred. However, Brewdog's decision to cancel the events continued to be promoted on its social media pages.
A statement issued over the weekend by Frank said: "“On 27th September, a statement was released to media by an individual employee of Frank without Scofflaw’s approval. The reputation of our client is of utmost importance and we are taking this matter seriously. The employee has been suspended while an investigation takes place. We apologise to Scofflaw, BrewDog and anyone that may have been offended by these actions."
Scofflaw owner Matt Shirah, added: “This post is absolute nonsense. While we definitely have country roots, no one at Scofflaw Brewing or those associated with our brand, is now or has ever been, rooted in hate. We do not tolerate hate — that’s just idiotic.”