Indiana Brewery Names Beers 'Flint Michigan Tap Water,' 'Black Beer Matters'

The owners are aiming to raise awareness on social issues

July 16, 2018 - 11:45 pm

LAKEVILLE, Ind. (WWJ) -- A brewery in northern Indiana that's set to open its doors this fall is already turning some heads and raising some eyebrows -- and that's exactly what it is hoping to do.

Lakeville Brew Crew owners Jon Duncan and Rodney Chlebek have announced they plan to release beers with controversial names -- including "Flint Michigan Tap Water" and "Black Beer Matters" -- not to poke fun at those suffering from social injustices, but to raise awareness to those issues, according to a report from the South Bend Tribune.

The pair are hoping to generate conversation around these topics, and Duncan told the South Bend Tribune, "If you’re going to get mad about that beer name, you should focus your anger more toward the people that are letting that happen to Flint,” he said. “If I can bring some attention to that, whether it be negative attention toward me, it still brings attention to that issue."

The Flint Water Crisis began in 2014 when the drinking water source for the city of Flint was changed from the Detroit River and Lake Huron to the Flint River in an attempt to find cheaper drinking water. Due to insufficient water treatment, lead from the lead water pipes went into the drinking water, exposing more than 100,000 residents.

A federal state of emergency was declared in the city and residents were given free bottled water through a government program that was suddenly called to an end earlier this spring.

Duncan and Chlebek told the Tribune they plan to release up to eight other controversially named beers, including "Black Beer Matters," because "stouts and porters are the least popular of all craft beers. But 'they are good beers and they matter,' Duncan said in the Tribune story.

Other potential beer names include "White Guilt" -- a Belgian white beer that Duncan says is dedicated to his friends that get upset over the names -- and a Russian Imperial Stout called "Mass Grave" -- a moniker that points towards the mass graves left behind by brutal Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, Duncan told the Tribune. 

The owners of the brewery are receiving considerable backlash, but say they are willing to take the heat if it leads to healthy conversations about social issues.

Some on social media have proposed the idea that the owners of the brewery could take a certain portion of proceeds from each beer and donate it to a charity related to each social issue.