Local brewer 5 Rabbit Cerveceria this week canned its last batch of a controversial Donald Trump protest beer.
In June 2015, the brewery made international headlines when owner Andres Araya stopped making a house beer for Chicago’s Trump Tower lounge.
The move came after Trump made comments that characterized many Mexicans as criminals and “rapists.” Latin-American born Araya said he “would be doing an injustice to the community we serve (and live in) by engaging in business with someone who does not accept our role in society.”
After pulling the remaining kegs, Araya renamed the blonde ale “[Spanish expletive] tu Pelo,” referring to the candidate’s hair — and vowed to keep brewing it until the candidate left the race. Eager Chicago-area bars bought up the kegs and served it exclusively on tap for several months. This year, 5 Rabbit released a limited canned version that disappeared from stores within days.
This week, Araya canned his very last batch, and shared thoughts by email on a decision that has brought him and his Bedford Park brewery hate and praise from around the world.
Q: Why did you decide this would be the last run of the beer?
Because come Nov. 8, this election cycle is over. No matter what the outcome, the branding of this beer becomes obsolete. The last thing we want to do is sacrifice the message by continuing to package under a stale image. We will, however, morph this beer with the objective of continuing to spread the message of inclusion, respect, equality and diversity. It is my hope that after 18 months of protest we have been able to make an impact no matter how small.
Q: Will you miss [Expletive] tu Pelo?
No, I will not. To be perfectly honest, I would have rather it never existed.
Q: How much beer did you can on your last run?
Quite a bit. Enough for us to be able to enjoy at least a couple on election night.
Q: A year and a half later, do you regret having pulled this beer from the Trump Tower lounge and do you regret having renamed it?
No regrets. I see 5 Rabbit as an extension of ourselves and believe it is important to be unafraid, to always stand by your convictions and your values. Some might argue that in doing so we alienated a significant portion of the market. If that is the case, I understand. If that’s the price to pay, so be it. This really is not only about one of the presidential candidates, it is much more than that. It is about living by what should be really simple universal values that we all as a society, as community should follow.
WBEZ contacted the Trump campaign for comment but did not get an immediate response.
Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Follow her at @monicaeng.