Taking a Stand is Never a Gamble if its the Right Thing to Do

So finding retail partners this week in Hudson, Eau Claire, and Appleton was exciting and rewarding. Talking to like-minded store owners and managers refueled our tanks and confirmed that we’re doing something good.
However, what we didn’t show you were all the rejections we received. We actually failed to find a partner in Wausau, for example, and there were as many or more stores in the other cities who decided not to carry #progressivebeer as there were that did.
And these were the stores that our fans on Facebook recommended that we approach, so they seemingly were already seen as more progressive in their communities.
Most of the store owners or managers we met were progressive, but they were scared, and that’s both understandable but also sad.
The rejection we get 100% of the time when we approach a store that we’ve already crowdsourced from you is this: “We love what you’re doing, we voted for Biden, most of our customer base is progressive, we hate what Wisconsin has become, but we can’t afford to alienate our Republican customers by carrying your beer.”
Or the short version of this is: “We can’t be political in our store.”
And of course, we understand. That’s how we ran our brewpub for the last 7 years. As Michael Jordan would say, “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
But we snapped when the Republican Party snapped and started hurting our country. When the state legislature forced an in-person vote last spring at the height of the Covid scare in order to squash voter turnout, after Trump and his cult in our state lied about the virus and downplayed mask-wearing, after seeing nurses plead in tears with the public to take this seriously only to be scoffed at by an entire party, we snapped.
After seeing a husband die from Covid after contracting it from his wife who worked at our State Republican Assemblyman’s anti-mask restaurant, we snapped.
After seeing this graph from the New York Times showing that the US death rate was the highest above normal in 2020 than ever recorded, we snapped.
After having to lay off our staff, and seeing thousands of other bars, restaurants, and breweries close because Mitch McConnell played political football with economic relief funds, we snapped.
To us, it’s no longer about alienating customers, it’s about an existential fight for our state, for America, and to help those suffering from sickness and economic disaster, made so very worse by the Trump cult.
So we get it guys. You probably didn’t go into business to save the world--you probably went into business to make a little money, pursue your passion, and/or take care of your family. It’s not your responsibility to fix Wisconsin.
We argue that fixing Wisconsin IS our responsibility.
Business owners are leaders by default, because we have to manage businesses. We have to lead by example and people in our communities listen to us because we help create jobs.
We argue that being afraid of what an “invisible Republican customer base” might think is not a fun way to live. Being afraid is a terrible way to live.
Guess what is a fun way to live? Being able to say whatever you think and believe and selling more beer than you could possibly imagine BECAUSE you are unafraid to say what needs to be said.
The Minocqua Brewing Company has never been more successful than it is now because we DARED to speak out against the harm that has been done by Republicans.
We took a stand, for sure, but it wasn’t hard because it was the RIGHT THING TO DO. Taking a stand is never a gamble if it’s the right thing to do.
So if you’re reading this and you run a businesses in Wisconsin, please think about your role in your community. Sure you want to make a lot of money, that’s the American Way! But…the American Way is also to lift up your communities, be courageous, and speak out for those that don’t have a voice when they’re being harmed because you have the means and platform to do it.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for helping take the Mississippi out of Wisconsin, one beer at a time.