Beer insulting California utility PG&E brews backlash

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Anger over devastating California wildfires sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric power lines is coming to a head — in a beer. And an outcry is brewing.

Steve Doty, owner of Shady Oak brewery in Santa Rosa, announced a new beer called “F—- PG&E,” describing it on Facebook last week as “a classic California pale ale, featuring Cashmere and Simcoe hops and a touch of malt sweetness.”

Doty told the Press Democrat that he meant to draw attention to the negligence of PG&E executives and was stunned by the onslaught of critical comments by people who said they are related to utility employees.

One person who said she was married to a PG&E gas serviceman commented on Facebook that she found the label insulting.

“My husband has been working 18-hour days and not seeing his little boys for the past two weeks to help our local community,” the comment said. “Your label is hurting the men and women that work day in and day out for their community.”

Other people attacked Shady Oak by giving it 1-star reviews on Yelp and Google or calling the taproom with violent threats, Doty said.

PG&E has been blamed for a series of destructive wildfires in Northern California in recent years that have killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Its workers have been attacked amid sweeping blackouts last month meant to prevent its electrical equipment from toppling or coming into contact with branches and sparking fires. The state’s largest utility, PG&E faces a vote Wednesday by state regulators over whether to open an investigation into the outages.

Doty posted an apology to those upset by the beer name. As a conciliatory gesture, he offered $1 off a beer for those with an “honest review” on social media and $2 off a beer for PG&E employees.

But Doty said he is still standing by the name. While the brewery typically rotates its lineup of beers on tap, he said he’s considering making an exception because of the popularity of the PG&E beer.

“My general rule for the brewery is that I don’t want to brew the same beer twice,” Doty said. “We had a great weekend. The sales were crazy.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Two inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press File Photo)
2 Bowden inmates test positive for COVID-19

A pair of inmates at Bowden Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.… Continue reading

Salons and barbershops are able to open on Monday, the Government of Alberta announced this week. (Photo courtesy Pixabay)
Red Deer salon owner “relieved” business can re-open next week

The owner of a Red Deer salon says she’s “definitely relieved” her… Continue reading

Red Deer Valhalla Pure Outfitters owner Darren Schaedeli has seen a significant increase in those looking to tackle winter experiences. Some are trying their hand at "hot tent camping" as he did in the West Country several weeks ago.
Photo contributed
Central Albertans enjoying the great outdoors this winter

Stir crazy and beach-deprived central Albertans are embracing the great outdoors this… Continue reading

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

One way to get infloor heating is with electrical cables installed underneath ceramic tiles. Here DITRA-HEAT cables are snapped into an uncoupling underlay that goes down before tiles. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)
Houseworks: Heating a basement under renovation

Q: Will DITRA-HEAT electric infloor heating be enough to make my finished… Continue reading

Super Valu has experienced an increase in demand for products such as toilet paper as people prepare for the coronavirus. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Hints from Heloise: Stock your closet

Dear Heloise: If this year has taught me anything, toilet paper, wipes,… Continue reading

Manchester United's Tobin Heath celebrates scoring against West Ham United during the FA Women's Super League match at Victoria Road Stadium, London, Sunday Oct. 18, 2020. (John Walton/PA via AP)
Double 1st: Man U men, women leading 2 leagues, play champs

Double 1st: Man U men, women leading 2 leagues, play champs

A group of Buffalo Bills fans from Toronto pose for a photo while tailgating in the parking lot of New Era Field before an NFL football game between the Bills and the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Adrian Kraus
Being unable to attend Bills playoff games due to pandemic pains Canadian fans

Being unable to attend Bills playoff games due to pandemic pains Canadian fans

FILE - Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, in this Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, file photo. Bryant is among roughly 125 players who entered Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, eligible to exchange salary arbitration figures with their teams. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Lindor, Bryant, Bellinger, Seager get big-money deals

Lindor, Bryant, Bellinger, Seager get big-money deals

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash points during the third quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in New York. (Brad Penner/Pool Photo via AP)
More NBA games off, as league continues struggles with virus

More NBA games off, as league continues struggles with virus

Washington Capitals' Jakub Vrana (13) is congratulated for his goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Vanecek makes 28 saves in NHL debut, Capitals sweep Sabres

Vanecek makes 28 saves in NHL debut, Capitals sweep Sabres

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia (60) makes a save after Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) fell down during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Stamkos, Palat lift Lightning over Blackhawks again

Stamkos, Palat lift Lightning over Blackhawks again

Most Read