You might think that not welcoming Nazis in your establishment wouldn’t be too terribly controversial, but it’s 2017, Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and Nazis are apparently a surprisingly sensitive bunch.
In the wake of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally — where a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 — Boundary Brewing Co. owner Oliver Gläser decided to post a video online of him and a coworker hanging an anti-fascist flag in his brewery to show his support for human rights.
Given that Gläser is of German descent and his Kelowna brewery specializes in German beer styles, he said he felt it was important to take stand and publicly denounce Nazism and racist hate speech.
However, according to Gläser, a racist militia group who call themselves the “Three-Percenters” (III%) found the video last month and flooded his page with hateful comments and one-star reviews. That prompted him to temporarily take down the brewery’s Facebook page, resulting in an attack on his Google rating page as well.
“I’ll be riding through Kelowna with some heavys (sic) next spring we will grab a couple cases of Kokanee gold and stop by if you’re still in business then cause some shit there,” read one now-deleted message.
“I was getting comments from people in Norway and southern United States and all over the U.S.,” Gläser told iheartradio.ca “I mean most of the negative comments came from the Unites States, most of the negative reviews came from the States.”
While the flag he hung has been associated with some violent anti-fascist and anti-war protests in the past, Gläser says he chose to fly it to send a message that hate is not welcome in his brewery.
Gläser says he’s received lots of encouragement from his customers and the community for standing up to the racist bullies. Crannog Brewing in Sorrento, B.C., which has flown an anti-fascist flag for more than 10 years, has publicly supported Gläser’s stance and the two breweries are even collaborating on a beer together.
“My resolve has been galvanized,” he says. “I wear it as a badge of honour to piss off people that I don’t want to have in my brewery anyways.”
So if you like delicious German beer, and you’re not particularly fond of Nazis, be sure to stop by Boundary Brewing in Kelowna.