U.K. Trump supporters won't be getting free beer after all. That was the promise originally made by Atlanta-based craft brewer Scofflaw in a press release that touted an event in the U.K. this weekend where it would get drinkers "beered up redneck style completely free of charge. But there is a hook … you have to be a Trump supporter."
There was one problem: Scofflaw said it was partnering with Scottish brewer BrewDog on the stunt. And BrewDog is known for its anti-Trump marketing, like making a beer last year called Make Earth Great Again to protest Trump's decision to pull out of an international climate change agreement.
After BrewDog's fans complained about the Scofflaw collaboration on social media, the brewer claimed innocence by saying it was not made aware of the free beer pledge.
The Scofflaw release was announced without our knowledge or consent.— BrewDog (@BrewDog) September 27, 2018
We are in no way aligned with their position and we will of course be cancelling all the events and sending all of the beer back.
We care about beer and people. Not hate.
The ball was then in Scofflaw's court. When in doubt, blame the PR agency, which is exactly what the Atlanta brewer did.
We did not approve or release said message and we are working with our PR firm @FRANKPUBLICITY to fix this error. This post was done on our behalf without our consent or knowledge. More details and official release to come.— Scofflaw Brewing Co. (@ScofflawBrewing) September 27, 2018
The PR agency, U.K.-based Frank, followed up with a statement saying its first release "contained incorrect information" and "is not a message from the brand."
Frank, whose motto is "we create talkabilty," also urged media members to "not run the piece" it originally pitched. But the reversal created more attention than the original pitch, of course, with outlets including the BBC running stories.
It seems unlikely that it was a been giant PR stunt judging by how Scofflaw went after Frank on social media. The brewer, on its Facebook page, stated: "Appears we can only get an official retraction and acceptance of responsibility by Frank. If we waive all of our legal rights. Good looking out for the small growing businesses on all fronts today. Should be lots more to come on this."
A person answering the phone at Scofflaw's tasting room in Atlanta said the company's owners were not available for comment because they were in the U.K. Frank could not be reached for comment.
BrewDog, meanwhile, in a blog post stated that "we were the victim of Fake News, with Scofflaw falsely promoting an offer for Trump supporters in our bars that we had no idea about," adding "we had planned to stock their beers in our bars, and hold collaborative tasting events, but nobody ever mentioned anything about Trump to us."
But BrewDog, ever the promoter, seized on the situation by announcing that it would still be giving away the free beer that Scofflaw promised, except it would be one of BrewDog's varieties, which include Punk IPA. Their condition? "All you need to do is tell the bar staff at any UK BrewDog bar, BrewDog Brussels or BrewDog Berlin Mitte you're a lover not a hater, and we'll pour you a free pint."