The backlash grew Thursday against an East Sacramento brewery over its owner’s Facebook posts slamming the Women’s March, Muslims and other targets, with several local businesses saying they were dropping the beer of Twelve Rounds Brewing and the brewery backing out of a major beer event scheduled for Friday.
Amid growing concerns that its presence would be a distraction at an upscale beer showcase, organizers of the Art of Beer Invitational reached out to Twelve Rounds Brewing to talk about its scheduled participation. The event, which attracts scores of top breweries and is a fundraiser for Sol Collective, the art and cultural center in Sacramento, has emerged in recent years as a high-profile event on the regional craft beer calendar.
For several weeks, Twelve Rounds had been promoting its participation on the brewery’s Facebook page. But it was owner Daniel Murphy’s comments on his personal Facebook page that landed him in the center of a highly charged backlash.
On Sunday, Murphy targeted last weekend’s Women’s March, writing, “I am disgusted at all of the people and politicians that supported this anti-Trump event.” In previous posts, he said he believed Barack Obama was a traitor, opposed gay marriage and argued that all Muslims in the U.S. should be deported. While many said they would no longer visit the brewery, the tasting room was packed Wednesday night and Murphy’s wife, Elle, was serving beer.
“We reached out to them and said we understand that this is going on,” said Art of Beer event director Jennifer Irwin. “We’re a beer festival that focuses on beer and food and the charity, and we don’t have the energy to deal with this right now. They felt they needed to pull back so the conversation would be about the beer and food and not about them. Dan was very reflective. I appreciated that he listened.”
Murphy did not want to comment directly for this story but replied with a brief email.
“Given the events of the past few days,” he wrote, “I’ve decided to take some time away from brewery operations to do some self-reflection and focus on my family. In the meantime, Elle will be handling my duties. As part of this decision, Twelve Rounds has decided not to participate in the Art of Beer Invitational this Friday.”
On Thursday afternoon, five protesters stood along 57th Street in front of Twelve Rounds with signs calling out Murphy’s Facebook posts. An occasional motorist honked in support, including a woman who stopped to say she had attended the Women’s March last Saturday.
“I used to come here and drink their beer, but not anymore because the owner – the man, the co-owner – is sexist, anti-gay and anti-Muslim, hates Obama and has accused Obama of being a Muslim and supporter of hate,” said Adele Sakler, one of the protesters. “I won’t support that hate.”
The tasting room was crowded for the second day in a row, but supporters of the brewery were not eager to talk to a reporter who approached them.
Also at issue is Twelve Rounds’ participation in the upcoming Sacramento Beer Week, including the all-local Brewers’ Showcase on March 2 that attracts scores of beer enthusiasts who pay $40 for tastings from up to 60 regional breweries.
Glynn Phillips, owner of Rubicon Brewing and a former president of the Sacramento Area Brewers Guild, which runs Beer Week, said, “I don’t think that’s my decision to make. It’s certainly on the list of discussion topics for the board of directors.”
Meanwhile, the list of local establishments that have decided not to carry Twelve Rounds beer continues to grow. On Wednesday, The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar, whose three owners had a small ownership stake in the brewery, said Twelve Rounds would not be served there. Red Rabbit’s owners also surrendered their 9 percent ownership shares. A person with extensive experience in the craft beer industry said Thursday that he was putting together a proposal to buy Twelve Rounds and promptly change the name. He asked to remain unnamed because the offer was still in the works.
Pangaea Bier Cafe, a major player in local craft beer, said Twelve Rounds would no longer be sold there. The Curtis Park pub has not had a Twelve Rounds brew on one of its highly regarded tap lists since 2015.
“All of our employees are upset about it. It hurt a lot of people. You don’t ever want to hear people talk like that,” owner Rob Archie said of Murphy’s numerous Facebook statements.
“To be honest, we don’t think about what we don’t want. We think about what we want. We only have so many tap handles, so we only talk about what we want and what inspires us.”
Hook & Ladder, the popular restaurant and bar, will also avoid serving Twelve Rounds beer.
“We don’t think our personal politics have any place in business,” said Kimio Bazett, co-owner of Hook & Ladder, along with the bar and barbershop Bottle and Barlow, and the midtown bar the Golden Bear. “Let’s just say that we strive, more than anything, to be as kind, inclusive and tolerant as possible at all times. It’s certainly no secret that immigrants, women and minorities – including my own relatives – have all combined to make this country great.
“That is not a contribution that should ever be taken lightly.”