Update 9/28, 9 AM: Finally confirming Scofflaw’s story in regards a rogue press release that was sent on their behalf stating they would give away free beer to President Trump supporters in Brewdog bars, Frank. the publicist has issued a retraction. As Beer Street Journal mentioned yesterday, the failed promotion was invented solely by Frank. The company’s Facebook page mentions the following
Addtionally, UK journalists received late-day email retractions from the agency’s founder, Andrew Bloch. “You may have received an email with incorrect information regarding Scofflaw Brewery entering the UK market, encouraging Trump supporters to join them for a beer. PLEASE NOTE, THIS WAS INCORRECT INFORMATION AND IS NOT A MESSAGE FROM THE BRAND. Please accept my huge apologies for the confusion and do not run the piece.”
Upon seeing the original press release and social media backlash, Brewdog immediately canceled all events with Atlanta based Scofflaw Brewing and pulled all beer from their taps. Shirah and members of the brewery were in London promoting the launch. According to co-founder Matt Shirah, Brewdog never met with the brewery before taking the actions, starting their own “Hope, not Hate Promotion” on their own.
When asked about the fate of their partnerships and if Brewdog had contacted Scofflaw, Shirah stated “Nothing yet. Now we have to work to repair the damage that has been done to any of our relationships and reputations. I doubt we can recover in Europe, but the support from home has been overwhelming. I’m heading home now, as in I am in the air, so that I can spend time with our friends and brewery supporters”.
The original story appears below.
Atlanta based Scofflaw Brewing is spending the week in the United Kingdom, celebrating the launch of their hoppy lineup in the country thanks to partner BrewDog Brewing. The Scottish craft brewery has been contract brewing and packaging Scofflaw’s cans at their new Ohio facility for the last year while Scofflaw expands into a 50-barrel brewhouse.
The opportunity to expand the business partnership came up over the summer, with Brewdog offering to import Scofflaw’s lineup for the Brewdog guest taps in the UK.
The week was moving along smoothly until last night. Frank., a London based Public Relations Firm sent out a press release to their UK based list promoting Scofflaw and Brewdog joint events. Per the release – Scofflaw would give away free beer if the patrons would dress up as Trump supporters.
Outrage ensued, and social media excoriated Scofflaw for their stunt, prompting Brewdog to send out a tweet early this morning.
Beer Street Journal reached out to Matt Shirah for his side the story. Per Shirah, that press release was not authorized by him or his brewery.
According to Shirah, he made the decision to hire Frank. for the week to promote his joint events in the United Kingdom. The only press release Shirah, or Scofflaw authorized was the initial announcement of the brewery partnership and launch in the UK. Nothing else.
“I was unaware of any press release. The first one was the only one they were tasked to release, you saw the one. I gave them nothing else,” says Shirah.
When asked if Scofflaw Brewing or any brewery employee wrote, or authorized this press release, Shirah immediately responded “They did this without my consent or review. Just made it up. Fiction.”
“The PR firm, one agent, went out on their own. Maybe they don’t like Brewdog. Getting killed here. We can’t even leave the hotel room,” Shirah adds.
“Frank made it up and sent it. It was never a plan. never heard of it until it hit the press,” Shirah continues.
Shirah also mentions that Brewdog had no discussion with him or the brewing team. Brewdog saw the social media reaction and opted to pull the beer and end the partnership over Twitter, in public.
Beer Street Journal has repeatedly contacted Andrew Bloch, founder and managing partner of Frank. Our repeated requests for a statement have been denied. The firm has failed to respond to any request.
Scofflaw has been responding to angry fans on Instagram this morning. Another response to note:
scofflawbeer@thebrewbrotha we were blindsided. Did not come from @scofflawbeer and was not approved by @scofflawbeer. I think @brewdogofficialdid not know what happened either and just reacted. Ping @frankpublicity with questions. Sitting here trying to get them to respond and trying to the bottom of this…and reading all the threats I am getting. #happythursday
Additionally, this morning Scofflaw posted this to Instagram:
Brewdog’s official statement includes a few discussions on America’s politics, as well as offering free beer to people who stand up for “Hope, not Hate”. It’s also important to note that their mention of “Frank PR” erroneously refers to a New York PR firm. The publicst is based in London, and simply called “Frank.”
FREE BEERS FOR PEOPLE WHO STAND FOR HOPE, NOT HATE
Today we were the victim of Fake News, with Scofflaw falsely promoting an offer for Trump supporters in our bars that we had no idea about.
We’d like to again categorically confirm we did not know of, endorse or approve this promotion and as a result we’ll be sending all the Scofflaw beer from our bars back to the US. We had planned to stock their beers in our bars, and hold collaborative tasting events, but nobody ever mentioned anything about Trump to us.
We will also offer that free beer they promised, but this time it will be Punk IPA (or any of our other headliners) to anyone who shows up to our bars in the name of love not hate. All you need to do is tell the bar staff at any UK BrewDog bar, BrewDog Brussels or BrewDog Berlin Mitte you’re a lover not a hater, and we’ll pour you a free pint.
From what we can tell, the rogue press release about the weird Trump offer was sent to media without us ever seeing it, let alone agreeing to it, from Scofflaw’s PR agency, Frank PR. It’s not just that it wasn’t approved that is the issue for us here – it’s the fact that the offer directly contradicts our own views and values at BrewDog.
We’ve been pretty clear about our views here in the past. When The Donald pulled out of the Paris Accord, we produced a protest beer called Make Earth Great Again, drawing attention to the ingredients under threat from climate change and donating profits to climate change action group 10:10.
This story is developing. Check back for more details as they become available …
Scofflaw Brewing hoisting up a shiny new sign on Monday, a major upgrade from the painted logo on the building
Per brewery co-founder Matt Shirah, he wanted to have an even larger sign above the brewery, similar to the Fox Theater, or the iconic downtown Biltmore Hotel sign. “Those are grandfathered in, and in the city of Atlanta your sign apparently can’t be higher than your roof now,” Shirah said.
The hefty new sign was created by local sign maker Henry, Inc. Above, Shirah and J.P. Watts, director of sales watches the first lighting.
“What do you think?”, asks J.P. “Fuck yeah,” Shirah says.
Image: Beer Street Journal
Atlanta, Georgia based Scofflaw Brewing will be available at all 36 Brewdog locations in the United Kingdom starting in September.
Over the past year, Scofflaw’s canning was outsourced to Brewdog’s new Ohio production facility. Attendees to the Ohio taproom got a taste of Scofflaw, the only place outside of Georgia the goat-themed brewery could be found. The partnership is evolving further, with Brewdog cold-chain shipping their Basement IPA and POG IPA, plus Vanilla Barrel-Aged Absentium abroad.
UK drinkers can expect Scofflaw on guest taps at Brewdog locations starting in late-September into October.
Image: Beer Street Journal
Scofflaw Double Jeopardy IPA is part of a series of artwork upgrades for the brewery in 2018.
Atlanta’s Scofflaw Brewing had one hell of a year. Between brewery expansions, the “middle finger scandal”, ordering a new brewhouse, and partnering with Scottish brewer Brewdog, it’s a wonder anyone on the team has time to sleep. Somewhere in the mix, someone there had time to work on upgrading their canned artwork.
The brewery’s Basement IPA is still #1 in demand. According to Jonathan Ingram at Scofflaw, Hooligan and Double Jeopardy are tied for second. Those that are hop-addicted are a home in the Simcoe heavy Double Jeopardy. Artist Josh Jameson is the talent behind beautiful updates.
Double Jeopardy has a malty bite up front from caramel and pale malts followed by a resinous hoppy middle, then finishes with a lingering, bittersweet boozy tingle. This big and bold unfiltered IPA taunts you: Can you walk away without having another?
Scofflaw Double Jeopardy IPA is available year-round in 12-ounce cans and draft.
Hops: Simcoe (& more)
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Year-round
Almost overnight, Scofflaw Brewing has taken Atlanta by storm. This month the brewery happily filled their first printed cans of Basement IPA. No more stickers. This beer is here to stay. It’s been a crazy first year.
We are sitting at a table on a hot Georgia afternoon waiting for the canning line to crank up. Minutes later a fresh can of Basement IPA is in our hands and co-founder Matt Shirah sits down on the bench.
“Well? How is it?” he asked. Despite telling him it’s fantastic, Shirah states “It’s good, but it needs to be fucking better. I’m never done with it.”
That never satisfied attitude is probably what made Scofflaw a household name among beer drinkers in Georgia so quickly.
Shirah and co-founder Travis Herman started Scofflaw Brewing in his mother-in-law’s basement. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s where Basement IPA gets its name.) “She thought we were fucking nuts with what we were doing down there, always wondering if she was going to go to jail for all the beer in her basement.”
The basement setup was a far cry from a few carboys too. The setup entailed five 1-barrel tanks (160 gallons) full of test batches of Basement. Over time Basement IPA came into its own and really started speaking for itself. Shirah was leaving growlers of the IPA for his neighbors to try. Soon, the neighbors came knocking looking for more. Today they still do.
Basement IPA commercially turns one this month; now over 60% of the brewery’s sales. The first weeks and months of Basement IPA were brewed at a 7 barrel pace. These days Herman is brewing it at 200 barrels a week. Less than 100 independent stores in Georgia receive shipments of Basement IPA. “We could brew more, but we have other beers we want make too. I get hate mail all the time about it.” Shirah added.
Despite adding fermentation tanks over the past year, the big move is coming at the end of the year. Scofflaw has ordered a new 50-barrel brewhouse. The goal is to be ahead at home in Georgia. “Not California or Texas,” he says.
“We want to be Atlanta’s beer. I love the community connection when I walk into a local bar. It’s not just beer, it’s a connection to people.”
Right now, Scofflaw’s biggest challenge is maintaining batch consistency. They’ve been buying “spot hops” on the open market to keep up with demand. The brewery’s hop contracts finally kick in in 2018, which is great timing considering the bigger brew setup.
At the one year mark, Shirah has learned a lot of lessons. The hardest – holding back from “going big”. “That wouldn’t have worked for us. It’s ok to grow slowly and at your own pace.” With Scofflaw’s 1st anniversary party looming, Shirah and Herman have stayed true to their original vision.
Basement IPA is designed for a broad audience, not a select few. Shirah believes the beer’s approachability is how it became so popular. “I didn’t need it to be something people had to stand in line for,” Shirah said.
While “hype” might be helping Scofflaw grow, neither Shirah or Herman wanted it that way. The brewery does very little marketing, simply letting the beer speak for itself. “Folks feel a part of the brewery, instead of it being pushed off on them.”
The tasting room was expanded earlier this year, helping Scofflaw financially break even. Georgia laws haven’t always been in favor for craft breweries, so financially selling tours has been a big help. Every weekend the team looks out over hundreds of locals drinking at the source. The community has embraced Scofflaw, and vice versa. “It’s a great feeling,” says Shirah.
The future is indeed looking bright at year one. On September 1st, Georgia will finally allow breweries to sell beer directly to their patrons. That ability will give Scofflaw some financial breathing room. The first 365 days saw a little over 20 different beers, and Herman says they have 20+ more rolling around in their brains. After collaborating with nearby Monday Night Brewing on Westside Funk, a brettanomyces heavy IPA – a wild ale program isn’t out of the question either. “Unfortunately, there’s no place for funk in this brewery right now.” says Shirah.
Scofflaw’s expansion will take them to 25,000 barrels annually. Shirah is really excited and hopeful to find a Georgia home for their current brewhouse, stating he wants It to be a Georgia heirloom. Right now he seems more excited about finding it a home then the new system.
Besides fresh Basement IPA in painted cans, look for a experimental honey beer, a few collaborations, and barrel-aged releases in year 2. You’ll finally be able to buy a pint at the brewery starting September 1st. Probably from Shirah’s mother-in-law who works the door every weekend, and constantly gives Herman and Shirah advice.
“Community drives us and inspires us. Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood is a strong part of our success. Always surround yourself with the best people.”
We’ll drink to that.
Scofflaw GOAT IPA debuts this Thursday, settling a bet from Atlanta’s ill-fated Super Bowl.
We all know what happened. Atlanta had a massive lead in this year’s Super Bowl, only to see it disappear by the end of the game. The city’s breweries made a few Super Bowl bets, most notably SweetWater with Boston Beer Company, and Scofflaw with Shipyard Brewing. SweetWater has already paid up. Now it’s Scofflaw’s turn.
Scofflaw GOAT IPA is a “New England Style” IPA, chosen because of where the Patriots call home. Scofflaw’s brewmaster Travis Herman worked with Shipyard’s head brew Joe Rank on the recipe.
The new IPA honors the “Greatest Of All Time” New England Patriots while celebrating the friendly collaboration among these two craft brewers. Deep with never-quit character, G.O.A.T. is an unfiltered IPA with a murky first impression that leads into winning flavors and aromas and a miraculous come-from-behind finish.
Scofflaw GOAT IPA will be available on tap at the Atlanta brewery starting Thursday, March 30th. Scofflaw’s Herman sums up his thoughts on the beer: “For spring days when the Atlanta weather is cool, we’ll use lower pressure in our kegs so Patriots fans can hold on to their glass.”
Hops: Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic
Availability: Draft only, limited.
Scofflaw Double Basement, a bigger, bolder edition of the brewery’s Basement IPA, debuts on draft this weekend.
As Scofflaw’s co-founder Matt Shirah mentions, “It’s Basement’s bigger, badder brother.” He means it when is says there’s a “f ton” of juicy hops in Double Basement. The brewery uses nearly 5 pounds of (predominantly Citra) hops per barrel.
While it will only be found on tap this weekend, the brewery tells Beer Street Journal the label is done. It’s up to the fans whether it’s ready for the big show or not.
Scofflaw Double Basement is currently available as a draft-only offering, starting March 2nd.
Style: Imperial IPA
Image: Scofflaw Brewing