John Hickenlooper has been known to drink a beer over the course of his multi-faceted careers. He's also been known to drink a nice refreshing glass of fracking fluid. But now his two favorite beverages are on a collision course.
That's because Dave Query, head of the Big Red F Group, which owns the Post Brewing in Lafayette and several other locations (as well as a handful of other restaurants), recently trademarked the word Hickenlooper (for beer sales) and then named a beer after the just-out-of-office governor: Hickenlooper American Ale.
It was a salute to the fellow (if former) restaurateur and current presidential candidate, and sales were to benefit Take Note Colorado, the charity that Hickenlooper and Isaac Slade of the Fray helped form in 2017; Take Note provides access to musical instruments and instruction to K-12 students in Colorado.
The beer, at just 5 percent ABV, was designed to be light, but the concept did not go down easy.
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No sooner had Hickenlooper American Ale — and its spiffy new label — debuted at the Post than Lafayette-based East Boulder County United started calling for a boycott of not just the brew, but the Post itself, citing "Hickenlooper’s long-time alliance with Colorado’s oil and gas industry, a collaboration resulting in massive backyard drilling operations and parents testing their children’s blood for benzene."
The group's call for action continued: "Both Lafayette and Longmont, Colorado, where The Post has two restaurants, have been at the center of the fight against oil and gas drilling for years, a fight in which Hickenlooper consistently supported the oil and gas industry over his own constituents. Both cities were sued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) when community members adopted local charter amendments banning fracking within city limits. Then-governor John Hickenlooper widely supported and encouraged these industry lawsuits and even piled on by having the state of Colorado itself sue the city of Longmont over Longmont’s fracking law."
Surrender came quickly. On April 2, Query sent out this announcement:
The Post Brewing Company got its start in East Boulder County. Our roots are here, and some of our most fervent supporters are here as well. We love being a part of this community and we are extremely lucky to call it home. Protection of the environment and support of Colorado families and non-profits are top of mind in everything we've done in THE BIG RED F RESTAURANT GROUP over the last three decades, and we have set the pace locally in Lafayette since we opened there 5 years ago. We have recently been attacked by EAST BOULDER COUNTY UNITED - who oppose John Hickenlooper and have called for a boycott of our Post Brewing Company Restaurants by Colorado residents and questioned our commitment and loyalty to the community, because we created a beer called HICKENLOOPER.
We aren't politicians. We aimed to launch Hickenlooper Ale as a nod to a local guy and longtime friend makin' a run at the highest office in the land. It was with the best of intentions that we hoped to support a non-polarizing charity like Take Note Colorado and celebrate Colorado and craft beer, named after a guy who opened the first brewpub in Colorado and then became its Governor. We made a mistake in that decision being wrapped around Colorado politics and as members of the community, whether we agree or not, did not consider how the actions of some have affected others whom are our neighbors, For that we apologize and have immediately discontinued our production of Hickenlooper Ale and will no longer offer it as of today.
When good intentions for a good cause go bad, it's time to change course.