A California brewery is facing backlash after it announced its new ‘F— PG&E’ ale targeting Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for its role in the creation and spread of wildfires throughout the state.
Days after announcing its new release on Facebook and in the wake of intense criticism, Shady Oak Barrel House owner Steve Doty took to the platform to apologize for the name, which many perceived as an attack on PG&E workers on the front lines.
“To those that are upset, I apologize and I would like to take a minute to set the record straight,” Doty wrote in the Sunday post. “The name was not intended to go after honest hard-working people that have been and still currently ARE helping our community. It is not to undercut or attack those that have been away from their families in order to serve others in times of recent disasters.”
On Nov. 6, the Santa Rosa, Calif., brewery announced its new release on Facebook, describing the alcoholic beverage as a “classic California pale ale, featuring Cashmere and Simcoe hops and a touch of malt sweetness.”
Doty told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that the beer’s name stemmed from his anger toward executives of PG&E, whose powerlines have been deemed responsible for causing several Northern California wildfires that have torched the state the past several years.
“There were obvious decisions [that] could have been made and procedures set in place that could have possibly helped avoid such horrific disasters,” Doty wrote Sunday. “And now we’re all paying for it.”
While Doty clarified his frustration was directed at “the corporation itself,” many blasted the brewery for its perceived attack on PG&E employees, The Press Democrat notes. In response, some critics left the taproom one-star reviews on sites like Google and Yelp while others verbally threatened the company in phone calls.
“We are a brewery. We are a company with wonderful employees and wonderful customers in one of the most amazing and resilient places on the planet,” Doty wrote Sunday. “We’ve collectively been through a lot here, and a few people inferring that we are attacking our own help only adds to that pain.”
PG&E last month shut off power to almost 800,000 people after it was blamed for the Camp Fire last year that killed 85 people.
California law states that utility companies can be held liable for fires caused by their equipment, and PG&E was recently required to pay Northern California towns a combined $1 billion in a settlement for recent blazes.