Last month, news broke out that an employee of Melvin Brewing, a Wyoming-based brewery with a cult following for its dank and drinkable IPAs, had inappropriately groped a server at a neighboring brewery near Melvin’s brewpub Bellingham, Wash.
Following the incident—which was verified by Melvin on its Facebook page as well as in an internal memo that was leaked to the media—several bars and bottle shops in Washington have boycotted Melvin’s brands, with boycotters reaching the dozens, including more than 20 bars in Seattle and more throughout Western Washington, the Seattle Times reports.
In the incident’s aftermath, brewery owner, Jeremy Tofte has been “‘pounding the pavement’ to meet with his accounts and anyone who wants to hear him out.”
Repercussions for the brewer, who harassed a female server at Menace Brewing in Bellingham, included immediate suspension, sexual harassment training, and a 30-day drug rehabilitation program—but the brewer is now back to work, the report says.
Reports from bars and breweries in the Seattle area describe Melvin employees’ behavior as “rowdy and destructive,” saying they are notorious for flaunting their “bad boy” image and promoting “bro culture.” Incidents at other bars in Seattle include Melvin employees staging a ninja fight and “accidentally punching and cracking a patron’s rib,” “making lewd comments,” and bringing Melvin beer into other establishments to drink it although it is not permitted. (Tofte says this only happened once, and that the beer was meant as a gift.)
The brewery’s problematic behavior has also been evident online: In one of the more disturbing details to emerge last month, Melvin’s online contact page had a heading that read, “Touch Us,” and the contact form read, “Show us on the doll where Melvin Brewing touched you,” making a joke of child sexual assault. The brewery says they were being “irreverent.”
Melvin got theirs. We can look on the bright side and see that the brewery’s leadership has been taking steps to remedy its company culture. But as Bellingham’s Chuckanut Brewery co-owner, Mari Kemper, says—and the long list of local bars and breweries that are boycotting Melvin’s products tell us—Melvin has a problem that can’t be fixed: “It’s the culture that they created.”