An Australian craft beer brand is facing increasing pressure to change its name amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
Colonial Brewing Co, based in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, responded to renewed criticisms of its name on Tuesday, announcing it would now be subject to an internal review process.
The announcement came after alcohol retailer Blackhearts and Sparrows confirmed it would not continue ordering from the company due to its name, The Australian reported.
The brand has faced heated backlash in recent weeks, amplified by growing public focus on curbing systematic racism in Australia.
Its name has been criticised for years by Melbourne freelance reporter, who told the publication on Tuesday he thought it “glorifies and glamorises the colonial process that destroyed cultures and countries across the globe”.
“It is perverse for companies to gain profit by creating nostalgia for a time when First Nations people were killed en masse, and other cultures around the world were forced into conditions of poverty, slavery, disease, cultural decimation, and worse,” he said.
Managing Director of Colonial Brewing Co Lawrence Dowd said on Tuesday the company was in the process of “reviewing and better understanding what this name means”.
“Hopefully we can land in a place where we’re all comfortable and we’re making a considered decision about our future and where we’re going,” he said in a video shared to Facebook.
A statement released earlier on Tuesday detailed the history behind why “colonial” was part of the name, explaining it was in reference to it being a beer company “colonialising the wine region”.
“The brand and name Colonial Brewing Co was inherited in 2008 when purchased, what was at the time, a small microbrewery in Margaret River – it was not chosen, or intended to celebrate (colonisation),” the statement said.
“The name Colonial was given to the brewery as it was one of the first to establish itself in the well regarded wine region of Margaret River, colonialising the wine region with one of the first craft breweries.
“Over the past six months Colonial Brewing Co have undertaken a process to review and understand the options we have to approach the name considering the historical meaning.
“The process includes consultations with the appropriate parties to ensure a considered outcome is reached.”
The controversy comes amid new calls for cheese brand Coon to also rethink its name due to racial connotations.
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