When Kim Jordan announced the sale of New Belgium Brewing to Lion Little World Beverages, an Australian subsidiary of Japan’s Kirin Holding, we’ve no doubt she expected some flak from craft beer fans disappointed that the heritage craft brewer would sell out to Big Beer.
What she probably didn’t expect was demonstrations in front of the Fort Collins, Colorado brewery protesting genocide in Myanmar.
According to KUNC, Kirin Holdings Limited has “ties to a military-run business enterprise with a stake in Myanmar Brewery, the Southeast Asian country’s largest beer manufacturer. And Kirin owns a majority stake in the brewery…
This from Morning Edition…
“According to emails published by Amnesty International, staff members of Myanmar Brewery gave about $30,000 to Myanmar’s military authorities in 2017. At least some of the donations, human rights groups say, could have been used to fund violence against the country’s Rohingya minority.”
The Rohingya people are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar who are being persecuted by authorities in Myanmar. Since August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the country to escape what protesters at New Belgium are calling genocide.
In August, the UN called for the international community to cut ties with Myanmar’s military… “The revenues the military earns from domestic and foreign business deals substantially enhances its ability to carry out gross violations of human rights with impunity,” the UN said in a statement.
Saturday’s protests at New Belgium come at a difficult time for the nation’s fourth largest craft brewery already being criticized for its pending sale to a global beer organization, which will cost them their craft beer status in the eyes of the Brewers Association a Boulder-based national trade organization.
New Belgium’s employee owners are expected to wrap up voting on the pending sale on Dec. 17. The company is 100% employee-owned, which means a majority must vote in favor of the sale for it to go through.