Still reeling from the fallout after a rouge Trump promotion press destroyed its relationship with BrewDog and led to outrage in the United Kingdom, US craft brewer Scofflaw is going on the offensive.
Here’s the deal…
In September Scofflaw Brewing was in London as part of a promotion to introduce its beers to England as part of an alliance with BrewDog that was born when the Atlanta-based brewery began contract brewing some of its beers at The Scottish brewer’s US facility in Ohio.
BrewDog had set up a series of events at some of it London bars. And in support of BrewDog’s efforts, Scofflaw had hired its own team of publicists, Frank PR. And that’s when things went nuclear.
Although explanations still remain muddy, Frank PR is claiming that a ‘rogue employee’ sent out an unsolicited and unapproved press release promising Trump supporters free Scofflaw beer when they launched in the UK.
The announcement went viral and the backlash against Scofflaw’s seeming endorsement of Trump led to BrewDog, on the advice of its PR firm Manifest, pulling the plug on all its events and severing its UK ties with the American brewer.
Scrambling to save face Frank PR Frank issued a statement saying: “On 27th September, a statement was released to media by an individual employee of Frank without Scofflaw’s approval. The reputation of our client is of utmost importance and we are taking this matter seriously. The employee has been suspended while an investigation takes place.”
But that was too little too late and the damage had already been done. Scofflaw had lost their UK distributor and a US partner immediately terminated a contract.
And the pro-Trump fallout wasn’t limited to the United Kingdom… several US retailers declined to carry Scofflaw’s beers any longer.
And now Scofflaw Founder Matt Shirah is going on the counter-offensive and has hired another PR firm, Media House International to help repair the damage.
This from Matt Shirah, CEO of Scofflaw…
“We spent many months and dollars planning our brand launch and events across the UK. I wanted to engage a PR firm but did not know which. When Manifest was not made available to us, I asked for recommendations. I thought certainly that my “partner” would know some reputable firms. I took one recommendation, Frank, checked out their client list, and took them on.
“I expect it was naive for me to believe that they would have, or should have, a robust protocol when it comes to releasing messages that can have a global impact on a client’s brand, especially given the current political environment.
“So, yes it has been a disappointing experience on many fronts. We have been thrown under several buses at one time. I will resist the urge to offer more commentary at this point, however I expect it will all come out in the wash. I would add one thing however…we do beer, not politics.”