I’m reposting here a version of the apologies I’ve sent personally to some folk re: a pair of insensitive labels I nearly used today. I’m glad my error was pointed out, and that the beer community helped avert their release, but the situation also warrants a considered apology.

First, they were cavalierly created in poor taste, and I feel awful that I hurt or angered anyone. I also want to thank members of the beer community for forcefully saying, “check your privilege,” as I clearly needed that check. Your responses give me hope for this industry, and kept me from making an even bigger mistake: actually using those stupid labels and letting them hit shelves, where they could then hurt, anger, or disenfranchise anyone who passed them.

So far as the labels’ content, I deeply regret the obvious element of appropriation, and further, that they trivialized the impact of gang violence on marginalized communities. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to find myself here. I was blind, and stupid, and I wish I could take it back — not for my benefit, but to prevent anyone from feeling like this industry is any more hostile and/or insensitive than it already is. This was not my intent, and that’s part of the problem: I hadn’t thought this through.

It breaks my heart that I’m the reason for anyone feeling less welcome in the craft beer community, and I’m sorry anyone had to waste any energy at all on me or my ignorant label ideas.

I hope to further demonstrate my remorse in a way folks find meaningful, emphasizes the importance of inclusivity in beer, or otherwise helps prevent anyone from making similar mistakes. Deservedly, I’ll now be an example of “how not to be,” and I hope my example is used to educate others. If I can ever help in that effort, I’m available, and I’m always open to dialogue in person or by email.

Also some folks have asked that I forward proceeds to an organization besides SPLC — possibly one that helps kids stay off the streets. I thought of the Boys & Girls Club, but if you know of anything better, I’m all ears. (To be clear: I don’t intend to simply throw money at this issue, but after acknowledging my error and pulling the labels, it seemed to be a reasonable step.)

Finally, to those saying they “don’t think it’s a big deal,” or whatever, you’re wrong. This was an egregious misstep, and I hope you think on it further. We’re all better off when insensitivity and ignorance are big deals.

Michael Dempster

MIRAGE

Info@MirageBeer.com