SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Santa Rosa craft brewer, who launched a brand of beer targeting his anger at Pacific Gas & Electric, has issued an explanation for its name in the hopes of quelling the social firestorm it triggered
Shady Oak owner Steve Doty released his “F—PG&E” beer last week. But the Facebook post on Friday announcing it was for sale triggered an avalanche of anger from the family and friends of PG&E workers.
In October, during a series of planned power outages and the Kincade wildfire, anger toward PG&E employees boiled over. An employee in a PG&E vehicle was run off a road, another in a PG&E truck was shot at, rocks and eggs were thrown at others. It got to a point where Gov. Gavin Newsom implored local residents to not take any action against PG&E employees.
“One of the things that really concerned me about the last blackouts is how some of our PG&E employees were treated,” Newsom told reporters during an Oakland news conference. “They are not to blame. You had folks throwing rocks, attacking verbally and physically folks who were out there doing heroic work every single day.”
On the Shady Oak Facebook page, the debate by supporters and critics of the beer continued this week.
Valerie Cena posted: “You may not have intended to Harm the Hard Working PG&E Employees Whom Give Their ALL and More….
“But YOU Have !!!!” They endure Horrific moments by the Public as they Work to Help One and All. You didn’t harm the Corporation… Only the Employees that have Your Back. Rename !!!!!!”
Vince Gudzinskas added: “With all the bullshit the execs of PG&E have pulled, it’s sad people seemed to think you aimed the name towards the hardworking linemen doing the daily grind and not the ghouls running away with all the money.”
But others supported the brewery.
Craig Eshe countered: “Great name…most people are frustrated with PG&E and understand you aren’t aiming at employees doing the work. Man, people get fired up over names and labels! After all… “Its just beer”!”
And Tyler Dalton added: “For all those people who are offended by the name of a beer more than the destruction caused by PGE should probably reconsider their priorities. PGE’s negligence has resulted in the loss of life.”
In response to the social media flurry, Doty posted: “To those that are upset, I apologize and I would like to take a minute to set the record straight. The name was not intended to go after honest hard-working people that have been and still currently ARE helping our community.”
“It is not to undercut or attack those that have been away from their families in order to serve others in times of recent disasters. The name doesn’t suggest anything remotely like this; however, some people chose to read it this way. The name instead was chosen in some contempt for the corporation itself.”
“I want to stress this very clearly, I am very aware that this negligence is NOT the fault of their employees and that those people have been CRUCIAL in the statewide recovery process. We understand it’s not an easy job and in times like this, it’s even harder. We have heard horror stories of people being threatened or assaulted based on their ties to the company and IN NO WAY, do we condone that. It’s disgusting and ridiculous and completely unfounded. We all need to “keep the lights on,” so to speak, and for those that help us do that in the literal sense, THANK YOU.”
“What I don’t respect and what inspired the name of this beer is how the corporate bigwigs at PG&E chose to line their pockets and ignore their responsibilities in their role that led to the destruction of communities across California. “