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Untappd suspends check-ins for Dystopian State Brewing in wake of public backlash

Dystophian State Brewing Logo

Popular beer check-in and rating app Untappd has suspended check-ins and comments following social media failure by the Tacoma, Washington based brewery.

You’ve got to have some thick skin to be a brewer. Especially in a social media-driven world. Everyone’s opinions regardless of how expert or novice, can be thrown out at near the speed of light, thanks to the magic of the internet and smartphones.

Of the hundreds of brewers we’ve interviewed here at Beer Street Journal, most take the critiques with a grain of salt. Some folks can be really hurtful, and most are smart enough to let it go. The owner and head brewer of Dystopian State Brewing Company did the opposite. Dare we say – completely off the rails.

A brewery visitor by the name of Gus Erikson was not a satisfied drinker of Dystopian State. He voiced his opinion on Facebook: “Only place I have spit beer back into a glass.

This is where the story would have ended if owner and head brewer Shane McElwrath and co-owner Lana Adzhigirey had just let that comment go and moved on with brewery operations.

They didn’t.

Co-owner Lana Adzhigiery didn’t take to kindly to his thoughts on their beer and voiced them immediately (She called him a fucktard in one of the exchanges). McElwrath privately messaged Erikson a string of expletive-laden comments that of course, didn’t stay private very long. Erikson shared the exchange and the social media backlash has been strong.

Members of the Untappd community started logging .25 stars on Dystopian State beers and destroying the brewery in the comments. Untappd has disabled check-ins and comments as of 1 pm this afternoon.

Additionally, the brewery’s Facebook rating was 4.8 stars and as the comment string and fall out started to build, that rating had dropped to 2.1. McElwrath has been suspended from his duties at Dystopian State. The brewery posted this on Monday evening stating they have been in contact with Gus Erikson over the messages:

“We really screwed up. We lashed out to one of our customers who made a negative comment about our beer on a beer group on social media. We made it personal. And have sent him messages in very poor taste. This is unacceptable and it was wrong.

“This is unprofessional and we take full responsibility. Gus Erickson – thank you for giving us a chance and please accept our deepest apology for sending you hateful messages.

We would also like to reassure you that we accept people from all walks of life, any and all sexual orientation, color, gender, opinion.”

Safe to say,  this is the very definition of a brewery’s public relations nightmare.

Ed. Note: An email to Dystopian State Brewing Company was not immediately returned. 


5 thoughts on “Untappd suspends check-ins for Dystopian State Brewing in wake of public backlash

  1. What truly did them in is that *after* they posted the “apology” the owners were continuing to be confrontational, sarcastic and insulting… which was proof that the “apology” was a PR lie and the owners weren’t in least remorseful about their original comments.

  2. While I totally get a company dealing with backlash for terrible behavior toward customers comments, I think it is total bullshit the bandwagon mentality that people have with this whole thing. The best evidence I can give is people like Mark W on the Google reviews.

    “I’ve never been to the place, but I’d probably like their beer, and I have no interest in the present controversy. However, with the name “Dystopian State” I wonder if they are experiencing a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts? Stupid name; makes me think of food service employees who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.”
    – Mark W.

    He gives the company 3 stars and a review stating right out the gate that he’s never even been to the place or tried their beer. He simply wants to voice his opinion and hop on the bashing bandwagon.

  3. Maybe i have another idea for this, Just as what Chase Lewis saide,Chase Lewis a vice-president TUPPS Brewery , To be successful in the beer business you have to, first and foremost, make great beer.
    Every one has the right to rate the beer, and different people have different hobbit, but as a old saying says, gold will eventually shine.
    And we all know good beer need good equipment.
    So, for a good equipment, maybe you can browse my website:
    Or mail me: [email protected]
    And you will see: Tiantai, Your honest brewery equipment builder!

  4. This is typical behavior for Shane. We live across the street from the brewery and have him on tape behaving in the same manner though with fewer expletives. We have also heard from neighbors of similar incidents. He has even screamed at the parking officials for giving him a ticket for multiple instances of illegal parking. He’s a playground bully that has finally been called on his behavior. We have tried many of their beers and found a couple that were decent but not anything we went out of our way to have. There are much better breweries close by. All of that being said, most of their staff are friendly and professional, and we hate seeing them caught in the middle.

  5. They are horrible people (probably) and their reaction was appalling but I really wish people would differentiate reviewing the beer from the place. Go to Yelp that reviews the place or facebook to review the company but to trash a beer you haven’t drunk stinks of being juvenile. Do we really have to sink to the level of the offender?
    And I know its JMHO but posting you spit their beer out sounds like a frat boy post made while off your face considering the other reviews are their beers are solidly meh rather than offensively bad. The offensively bad is the owners reaction.

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