A Response to Portman Group

On June 11, 2019 a UK alcohol industry ‘watchdog’ called The Portman Group sent a letter to our UK importer. Odd, it seemed, why not send directly to the creator of the beer? It’s not quite the responsibility of our importer to create our label artwork and text. Nevertheless, they did the dutiful deed of forwarding it to us for our eventual, and significant bemusement. One might think that being British the good folks at the Portman Group would exhibit a keener grasp of the range of word usage in the English language. You will find said letter, and our response below.

Click here to see the Portman Group Letter


Dear Portman Group,

Thank you for your letter. We’re sorry to hear that our beer, identity, and labels offended you. Since Arrogant Bastard Ale has been around for 23 years (a year before Portman was formed), and has been distributed in the UK for over a decade, the most devastating news may be how long it took you to identify your feelings. It would be insensitive for us not to recognize that this must have been a difficult emotional process. And clearly it was emotional, as your letter contained a lot of emotional words.

So, due to this highly emotional place that you must be coming from, we felt it was important to give you time to fully process before we responded. We recognize that you’re going through some changes, and change can be difficult for any person, organization, or watchdog group.

All that being said, we believe you deserve a truthful response. And that is: Your letter strikes as both random and arbitrary.

Random, because you specifically describe it as such with your sentence “Zenith Global were asked to collect a random sample of 500 alcoholic products on sale in the UK off-trade.” One might think that if a goal is to protect the public from themselves, the mission would not be satisfied via a random process, but rather a thorough and exhaustive audit of every single product available for sale in the UK off- and on-trade. Being not in the watchdog business ourselves, this is admittedly not our bailiwick.

Arbitrary, because it seems the definitions you’ve chosen are arbitrarily applied to our Arrogant Bastard Ale. By suggesting your actions are arbitrary, we’re being polite and giving you the benefit of the doubt. Because the other possibility would be that you did it intentionally, and that would be irresponsible. We believe in you, Portman, and believe you wouldn’t be intentionally be irresponsible. But we’ll get into that shortly.

Every aspect of Stone Brewing is built on best practices. We consider them at every stage of growth, and in our goal to improve the world of beer. We invite you to research our company’s standards and ethical values. We believe them to be worthy of your inquiry.  

We actively rail against the evil things in Portman Code 3.2—violence, aggression, dangerous behavior, anti-socialism, and illegal activities. We do, however, struggle to understand the inclusion of the offense that we’re being accused of—“bravado.” Hopefully understanding the Arrogant Bastard story will convince you that we are not being bravado-y, and that “bravado” itself may not be a very useful criteria by which to judge a beer, brand, or person.

As such, we humbly yet firmly request a challenge to Zenith Global’s accusations.

“Stone's contributions to the craft movement must not be downplayed. With Stone's iconic west coast IPA, an entire line of aggressive "Arrogant Bastard" ales, and an undying commitment to consistency of quality, the company not only helped to revolutionize the way Americans think about and enjoy domestic beer — it also continues to employ over 1,000 individuals, which is more than 99% of breweries in the world can claim.”

- Men's Journal

At press time, there are 250,582 reviews of Arrogant Bastard on Untappd.com. By comparison, the #1 selling beer in the U.S. has 381,478 reviews. Point is, Arrogant Bastard Ale is hardly a fringe brand that escaped your ethical radar for over 10 years. So, why now? Why so many years after it became one of the top-selling 22 ounce craft beers in U.S. chain stores (in many years, it has occupied the #1 position)? Why after we’ve been honored to have been named the “All Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate, twice? From the U.S. to the UK to Asia and Australia, Arrogant Bastard is now one of the most widely recognized craft beer brands in the world. Arrogant Bastard Ale is the beer that is credited by many as what inspired them see beyond the world of industrial beer into the craft and artisanal side of the equation. It’s hard to believe that millions of people in differently awesome cultures around the world would show such support for a beer whose branding was truly offensive. Maybe Zenith Global’s analyst has rare, keen insight that millions missed. Or maybe they were having a rough day. Or maybe they were working to fulfill an undisclosed quota to justify their no doubt pricey consultancy? Again, we’re not in the watchdog business.

Another possible option is that Arrogant Bastard’s success came at the cost of the industrial brewers who founded and fund Portman Group. Now that Arrogant Bastard has been taken so seriously as an alternative to their products on the global stage–well, that admittedly seems convenient.

If the rest of the world had been as offended as your analyst, we assure you Arrogant Bastard would be long gone by now. Our goal is to inspire, and we’ve always been crystal clear about that. It’s not bravado for us to say that our track record has proven to be successful at that. Perhaps a tad braggadocious, but not bravado.

Top 30 beers US

As you know, memorable branding is crucial to any small business. Too bland, and no one remembers your name. Too bold, and you’re an energy drink. With any creative endeavor, there will always be some who misunderstand the intention, or even wildly misinterpret it. Such is the nature of art, as any person or politician can attest. Especially when it comes to the sort of ironic creative expression Arrogant Bastard Ale is based on.

Though we feel our respectability and innocence in these charges to be self-evident, we have nonetheless taken the time to address their specific issues:

YOUR ISSUE: “The packaging and naming in both a direct and indirect way suggest association with bravado.”

Merriam-Webster defines “bastard” as “something that is spurious, irregular, inferior, or of questionable origin.” This is clearly an archaic definition based upon the now long-passed view that being a “bastard” was something inferior. In modern society we no longer accept Victorian-era prejudices and have wisely adopted the more humanistic understanding that people of every kind of background are all worthy of equal respect. However, when we started making craft beer, we were seen as spurious and irregular. The giants of industry claimed we were inferior, and doors were accordingly closed to us. They claimed no one would want our weird beer, because of its questionable origin. By the very definition of the word, we were deemed bastards who were arrogant for thinking we stood a chance in this industry. And so we adopted the accusations against us. We used their words in a positive manner. We named a beer in their, and our, honor.

“Arrogant Bastard has to be one of the best-named beers of all time.”

- The Irish Times, August 12, 2016

ISSUE: “The packaging and naming in both a direct and indirect way suggest association with bravado. The name of the product is “Arrogant Bastard,” and directly under name is a slogan stating “You’re not worthy.” The text on the can tells the customer that they won’t like it because the consumer prefers a safer option.”

The name we have covered. Regarding the phrase, “You’re Not Worthy”—this is something we were told repeatedly as young brewers. We took the insult and used it as a rallying cry for our cause. As for playfully teasing a customer that they won’t like it, we don’t see how this violates any of the Portman Code 3.2. It is a brotherly tease, and does not suggest bravado, violence, aggression, danger, anti-socialism, or illegality. In addition, it was also a playful reworking of the oft-repeated phrase from the cinematic classic, Wayne’s World, in which the two protagonists regularly proclaim “We’re not worthy!” when they find themselves in the presence of someone they greatly admire. They also famously, and mightily, rocked out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in a Pacer. Now that’s bravado. So much so that nearly three decades later writer and actor Mike Meyers was invited to appear in the recent most excellent biopic movie Bohemian Rhapsody in a specially written part. Point is, they’re both great movies and you should watch it. Up to you if you’re enjoying an Arrogant Bastard while you’re doing it, although it does feel like it’d be thematic at this point.

Back to the point being that we turned the phrase “We’re Not Worthy” around, playfully suggesting Arrogant Bastard Ale demands admiration. Is that “bravado”? Lighthearted bravado perhaps.

In that line of thinking, and for the sake of argument, we’ll take the same momentary leap of faith you have taken and imagine we are guilty of exhibiting bravado. “Bravado” is defined as making bold or showy statements, and having an appearance of courage and confidence. Given the current political climates of our two countries, the writing on Arrogant Bastard Ale hardly seems worthy to appear on the “bravado” radar. However, if we are guilty of bravado it is in one—and only one—specific way: flavor profile.

Fact is, good people with taste have been underestimated. For centuries, we’ve been given food and drinks that are facile and breezily palatable because companies lumped us all into the lowest common denominator. Remarkable humans were given unremarkable beer that tastes like back alley whispers or computer generated smooth jazz. We’ve conversely been taught to eschew food and drink of actual depth, character, and intense flavor.

Arrogant Bastard Ale Cans

To wit, I recently read an article that complained vociferously about the food scene in Rome. It argued that the glory days of restaurants with quality and flavorful food had been lost because chefs were forced to accommodate the pedestrian tastes of tourists. Rather than be distinctive, the article alleges restaurants had aimed at the heart of bland in an effort not to offend a single palate. Here’s the thing: that article was written over 800 years ago. The unfortunate reality is that pandering to the lowest common denominator is not a new phenomena.

The result is that many people struggle to appreciate the boldly bitter profile found in Arrogant Bastard Ale. It’s a pretty intense beer with a big personality (especially in the beer climate that existed when we released it in November 1997). So much so, that we did not release the beer for more than a year after we opened our doors. We feared it was too big in character, and would only drive customers away from our fledgling brewery. And yet, we ourselves loved the beer.

Arrogant Bastard's Release

Stone Brewing co-founders Greg Koch & Steve Wagner during a promotional in-store 3Litre bottle signing circa 1998. Whole Foods, Hillcrest, San Diego, CA

Acknowledging this, when we finally couldn’t hold the beer to ourselves any longer, we felt obligated to clearly warn people away from trying Arrogant Bastard Ale. We figured if a warning label was sufficient to chase someone away, that person probably wasn’t our target audience anyway. By providing a warning label, fewer feelings would be hurt and there would be more of the beer for people who actually wanted an intense flavor profile. After all, if people expected a whisper beer or a smooth jazz beer and instead receive Arrogant Bastard, they might be disappointed. We didn’t enjoy wasting people’s valuable time or money. That’s why we were very clear that Arrogant Bastard is a very different beer. It was, and is, truth in advertising.

We wrote about all of this and more in our 2011 book “The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.”  You can read it yourselves. It’s available on Amazon.

It’s even gotten some nice ratings.

“The bottle comes with the tag line ‘you’re not worthy’ and the damned truth is, some people are not.”

- The Red & Black, November 8, 2016

ISSUE: “The language, name, and visual are suggesting that one has to be tough or daring to drink the product, and by consuming it, the customer is tougher or more daring than a regular beer drinker.”

The “visual” in question is our logo. A gargoyle. We chose a gargoyle because, historically, it wards off evil spirits. As we state on our website, on coasters, on posters, on bottles and can, our gargoyle represents our commitment to quality by helping us to ward off cheap ingredients, chemical preservatives, and pasteurization…the modern day evil spirits of beer. Historically, gargoyles were erected on churches, and on the day of their christening, the archbishops would release a prisoner. We relate to the idea of fizzy-yellow beer drinkers as prisoners, and hope to aid in their release by providing them craft alternatives. In no way does any of our branding suggest a customer should be “tougher,” physically imposing, or aggressive. We ourselves have few muscles to speak of (me especially), and are pacifists.

Arrogant Bastard Pint

Zenith Group also suggests we consider our customers “more daring.” They are correct. We do believe this of our customers: they are aesthetically daring. They dare to develop new tastes and palates. This is a positive attribute. We do not endorse daring that dangerous or destructive or anti-social. Our dare is to explore beyond the status quo of aesthetic experience, not to go bungee jumping with a disreputable operator. I believe that the UK sometimes uses the term “lager louts” to describe someone who is drunk, disorderly and scrapping for a fight. That term is not one associated with any of the beers we make.

ISSUE: “The language is… challenging the consumer to not be ordinary.”

This is semi-sorta-but-not-really true. We believe not being ordinary is a great goal in life and urge everyone, including Portman Group, to be extraordinary. In fact, our company motto of the last couple decades has been two simple words: “Be Amazing.” It’s tough to consider that someone would insist on viewing that through a negative lens. We like to believe we make an extraordinary beer. We don’t believe urging someone to enjoy extraordinary beer is bravado, violence, aggression, danger, anti-socialism, or illegality.

However, the language is not even a challenge, as Zenith claims. Once again it’s a warning to consumers of what to expect. The label was written in a time before craft beer was a widely known thing. Back then, any level of IBUs (International Bitterness Units, the measurement of bitterness in a beer) were not acceptable to the general consumer. In many articles and videos over the years, I have consistently explained I wrote that label as a warning, not as some goading “reverse psychology.” It was plain speak. Open, honest and straightforward (admittedly while employing a little Monte Pythonian light elbow to the ribs).

If you have not researched this history of Arrogant Bastard and its legacy and meaning, or the history and ethos of our company, I invite you to do so. I believe that in your country, as in ours, the burden of proof lies with the accuser, and not the accused. As such, I politely decline to do the research for you. I have never bookmarked all these instances of my telling the story, as I never imagined I’d need to.

“It's difficult to process just how iconic Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard Ale is.”

- Minneapolis City Pages, August 22, 2016

ISSUE: “The language used on the packaging is derogatory to consumer. Phrases such as ‘If you don’t like this beer, keep it to yourself—we don’t want to hear from any sniveling yellow-beer-drinking’ wimps, cause this beer wasn’t made for you’ are pejorative and may encourage anti-social behavior, as they challenge the consumer not to be a wimp.’”

Millions…quite literally millions…of our consumers have understood and enjoyed the playful irony of this statement. There are many truly derogatory words in the English language, none of which we would ever use at Stone. We do not believe “wimp” to be one of them. We chose that word because one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions is “an unadventurous person.” In the beginning, and still to this day, trying craft beer requires a sense of adventure. The word “wimp” doesn’t insult gender, race, religion, creed, or anything else we hold as sacred to human beings. We believe the issue here is that the irony and playfulness was not comprehended by Zenith Global’s analyst, and the word does not express bravado, violence, aggression, danger, anti-socialism, or illegality.

In your complaint, you claim the label “may” encourage anti-social behavior. Again, we refer to the fact that this is one of the best-selling craft beers in the world. That seems exceedingly social. It is more likely that interstellar energy particles would cause voting machine irregularities than the label of Arrogant Bastard Ale would encourage anti-social behavior. Indeed, there are literally more recorded instances of the former than the latter. Last-call binge drinking is far better example of an anti-social behavior. We have a problem with it in some parts of the U.S., and we have heard the U.K. struggles with this as well. Such behavior is not the culture of the environment at any of our restaurants or pubs.

ISSUE: The word “bravado.”

We agree with all other words that constitute violations in Portman’s Code 3.2. No company should encourage violence, aggression, danger, anti-socialism, or illegal behavior. But bravado simply means “blustering swaggering behavior” and “a pretense of bravery.” Accusing a company of bravery, or even a pretense of bravery, seems a bit harsh. It’s a compliment in many uses (“she had a sense of young bravado.”). As people who are on the receiving end of Portman’s efforts, we encourage consultation with linguists, and the removal of that word from the list. It allows for far too wide of interpretations, and could lead to some unfounded accusations against responsible companies.

Babies in arrogant bastard onesies

The very popular "My Daddy is an Arrogant Bastard" onesies on twinsies.

In closing, with Arrogant Bastard Ale having been sold for 23 years—10-plus years in the UK, all over Europe, Asia, and Australia, we have never been accused of such outrageous things as those of which your complaint outlines. This includes UK wholesalers, retailers and consumers. So, either the entire world is wrong, or you are. It is the latter.

Thank you for hearing us out.

Sincerely,

Greg Koch

Co-Founder, Executive Chairman, and Author of the Arrogant Bastard Ale label

Category: 

Comments

Lily's picture

I’m not too religious a person, but, Amen! My boyfriend is a huge Stone fan, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart - to try new things.

Mick's picture

Superb and fitting reply. I have traveled to England 1 or 2 times a year for 26 years. My favorite thing to do is to start up a conversation in an free house pub with the locals. I guarantee that the Brits love the name of the beer, and The Portman Group is not representative of their values.

BG's picture

Arrogant Bastard was THAT beer for me. Sure, I had tasted UK Ales, German/Belgian delights, etc. But only when I had my first sip of AB did I understand what it meant to be a true left coast ale. I said then, and I still say now, AB is a punch in the mouth compared to the pathetic water I drank as a young man. While that may sound violent to some, it's a punch of flavor and complexity. Stone has been my go-to when I want anything truly bold... from AB, to your perfect IPAs and doubles. Hat's off to true quality and customer focus!

Bob @ NASA

Ian de Koning's picture

A great response to an ill conceived and unfounded complaint.
I’m only upset that I cannot enjoy your most excellent beer in Canada (at least not in Alberta) and have to wait till I visit CA in February.
Please bring Stone to Alberta!

LJ's picture

I have drank and with certainly continue to drink and enjoy Arrogant Bastard. I like your rather lengthy response to the Portman Group. Possibly deserved. I would like say, however, that this Group doesn't represent me or the "British drinker". So your quarrel is with them and not the whole the UK as some of the comments suggest. If you become too arrogant the beer will remain on the supermarket shelf. Cheers!

André M. R. dos Santos's picture

They're obviously not worthy of Stone's beers, and they're probably not worthy of your beautifully written response, my friends.

I myself love Stone, and Arrogant Bastard. I actually brought back the empty bottles I had in the US (my first time experiencing your craft, back in 2014), because I loved the beers and the labels so much, I just had to have them like trophies in my room.

Couple of years ago, we started importing Stone's beers here in Brazil, and again I saved the empty cans for display in my room.

You guys really are an inspiration to those who love the art of crafting good beers. I hope someday I'll be able to brew myself beers at least half as good as yours (shoot for the stars, right?)

Cheers from Brazil, hail Arrogant Bastard Ale, and to hell with those arrogant pricks at Portman Group that wrote you such a nonsense letter.

John 's picture

It's a shame they didn't discover Double Bastard.

Awesome response to an apparently humourless self-important group.

John Sanders's picture

I have always been an arrogant bastard and always loved Arrogant Bastard. One New Year's I splurged for the 3 liter bottle of Double Arrogant Bastard thinking I would enjoy it with friends joining us for the celebration. My friends took a few sips and proved that they were not worthy and I was forced to consume most of the dark nectar. Slept on the floor that night but it was worth it and I was worthy! Remember kids, I am a semi-professional drinker and you should never attempt to finish a 3-liter bottle of 11% beer at home.

Brian's picture

Great response! I enjoyed the letter and the history and grammar lessons. It’s amazing what a little research will clear up. I need to go grab a few bottles after that read!

Ryan Utz's picture

Oh NO! Not BRAVADO! Please say it isn’t so, Stone. I simply can not drink a beer that has BRAVADO on the label! What would my friends think?! Call the police! Call your Senators! My God, call the President!!! We the People can not abide this flagrant branding of BRAVADO! A truly HORRIBLE thing!

Alex Durrans 's picture

A beautiful response to a bizarre accusation. I particularly enjoyed the reference to the 800 year old article about Rome. The race to the bottom is far from a new issue. We’re I you I’d take it as a badge of honour, confirmation that the ‘big boys’ are rattled; and I’d certainly see it as a compliment that the only criticism they could muster is one of semantics. It is to my shame that I don’t think I’ve ever tried your ale. I’ll be rectifying that immediately.

No Comment's picture

Bravo! Excellent work! I'll grab a sixer of Arrogant Bastard tonight as a show of respect for this amazing response.
-Anonymous employee of a large beer distributor that doesn't work with Stone

Sam Mikelic's picture

Who funds this "watchdog" group? That money could definitely find a better use. Greg, your written AND liquid poems have made me not only your customer but your rabid advocate for going on 18 years; thank you for inspiring me to "be AWESOME" in everything I do!
-Sam Mikelic
Huntington Beach, CA

Christopher Burton's picture

September 30th, 2019 shall now be known as Arrogant Bastard Ale Day!
Cheers!

Don Paul's picture

Awesome response. You're only arrogant if you can't back up your statement... Which Arrogant Bastard AbSoFreakinLutely backs up with one of the most unique bold amazing beers EVER.

Keep "poking the bear" Greg, Steve and all the amazing people at Stone Brewing. Calling them out keeps them in check from telling us how to think and behave... something that is out of control in today's "Politically Correct" world.

We have SIX of your 3 liter bottles we routinely refill with your amazing beers: (2) Arrogant Bastard, (2) Double Bastard, (1) 12.12.12 Vertical Epic, and a 5th Anniversary IPA we "neutered" (so we can refill with any of your EPIC beers). These 3 liter bottles are ALWAYS a conversation piece both getting refilled AND pouring. LOVE 'EM since they exude ARROGANCE !!!

Andrew S Boddie's picture

Absolutely love your response!

Ryan Danzey's picture

Been drinking Arrogant Bastard what seems to be my entire adult life, I did a presentation in college on the company while in school (with samples), had my bachelor party and stopped in the tasting room in the Escondido facility in 2006 before the bistro was open. What a fun read, well done...oh yes and my children have pictures in their “my daddy is and arrogant bastard” onesie. Positively lovely response. Great Brand recognition along with culture...I will just leave it there. Cheers to many more years.

Michael Kuhn's picture

Well said and enjoyable reading. I only wish I could get Arrogant Bastard here in the Bahamas. Love You Guys!!!!

Jamie Quintana's picture

Arrogant bastard is my go to, always! Thanks for brewing up this great beer. In all honesty, not everyone is worthy of such bold flavors.

Cliff Lightfoot's picture

Does this mean get a new beer called Sickenly Self Righteous Portman.....err Porter?

Bryan 's picture

W00T!

Who are those yobs, anyway?

Monica Freedman's picture

They pick the most iconic craft beer randomly hahahahaha.
Oh those Jealous bastards!!! I would do a triple IPA, on their honor called "Bloody bollocks bastard" will sell like mad in the UK .

Rob's picture

I’m on the Amtrak Surfliner returning home to San Diego from LA and thoroughly enjoying a read of your response to Portman. This train offers Stone 22s. I think I will help myself to an AB as a nod to you sir and an FU to Portman. Eternally grateful to you and Stone for your contributors to outstanding selection of craft beer we have access to today as consumers. Well done!

Paul's picture

Written exactly like I'd expect from Greg. Props brother.

I think I will have to go stock up on AB! I've enjoyed them for most of the last 23 years. Might as well continue!

Mike Hellekson's picture

It’s unfortunate that this Portland group has embarrassed themselves and shown their agenda to the world. Your response was amazing and I will be buying more Arrogant Bastard than ever before because of it!! Stand your ground!!! (I hope all their letter does for you is increase beer sales!!)

Gabriel Sanchez's picture

Lovely response to a terribly thought out letter. A great reminder that I need to contact my distributor and order more Arrogant Bastard as well.

Jep's picture

There is an infamous legal “case” (note it is not really a true case as such as it didn’t reach court, but is oft referred as one by many) from early 1970’s Britain, Arkell v. Pressdram, in which the closing line of the response is very much brief & to the point.

I’m wondering, Greg, if referring to that reply would be more appropriate when dealing with this bunch of macro-beer-sponsored UK beer industry arseholes?

Greg Koch's picture

I took a moment to look that up.  Worth it.  Thanks for sharing @Jep!

Eric's picture

WOW....I honestly cannot believe this is even a real thing. The PC police are ruining everything. Funny that the label was the original reason I tried AB. I did get a few dirty looks back in the day wearing my AB t-shirts but "Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies"....suck it.

Matthew Haste's picture

Oh Greg, it's about time someone put it to these heavily backed falseties. Well written, especially for point ting out the massive hypocrisy in their accusations.

Dale Georgeff, Rebellion Brewery's picture

Hi Greg, I've enjoyed your beer in the past!! Your pioneering efforts have inspired many others to follow in your footsteps. Thanks for the laugh and more importantly, thanks for the beer!

Chris Klein's picture

Way to give it to them Greg! Keep up the great work. (Padres are only a couple years away.....)

Steve Basile's picture

A laughably lame letter, and a wonderfully detailed and humorous response. Bravo.
What the hell did they expect you to do on receiving this letter anyway? Change the name?
“OK after 23 years will just toss it all in the bin and make up a new name— thanks for giving us the nudge.”
Their logic, reasoning, and most of all their timing is truly deserving of all the mockery we can heap on it. Thanks for getting us started, tastefully and tactfully.

Tracy's picture

I used to go to your tastings in San Marcos in the late 90s. I still have my Arrogant Bastard Ale sweatshirt that I purchased in your gift shop.

Fun story about that sweatshirt. Many years ago, I spent a weekend in Huntington Beach with my sister and nephew. He was a teenager at the time and managed to get picked up by the local police for skateboarding. So, Sis and I head down to pick him up. I was getting many stares from the officers on duty and couldn't suss out why. My nephew comes out and starts laughing immediately, "Nice sweatshirt, Auntie."

Yep, you guessed it, I went to the police station to pick up my nephew while wearing my Arrogant Bastard Ale sweatshirt.

Good times.

Scott Bruns's picture

This is the perfect response in every way. Very well written and quite thoughtful. Also - I still remember receiving a bottle of this beer for a birthday when I lived in Ohio. I have since been in Seattle for over 17 years... enjoying Arrogant Bastard Ale ever since!

Shahram Shadan's picture

Bravo! We had a stone tap takeover in my taproom a few weeks ago in the UK! Your response perfectly sums up how your beers, especially arrogant bastard was received!!
Shaz
Docks Beers

Greg Koch's picture

Thanks for the support Shaz!  Much appreciated.  Love hearing from our friends in the UK on this!

Justin's picture

Leave it to an amazing group of innovators to correctly lead a reasonable rebuttal to government/bureaucratic cynicism! May your beer and your Arrogance, ever prosper

Terry M's picture

After a stressful work day, this was exactly the pick-me-up I needed! Your mastery of the English language is stellar, only matched by your sense of humor.
Never have I, in any context, thought "bravado" was a nasty word. Perhaps they do not realize that the majority of us are not nearly as sensitive as they believe us to be.
If I ever end up in court for anything, would you write my letter of defense? I'm sure it would be eequally brilliant.

Colin Heapy's picture

You always were an eloquent bastard. Great reply

Kenny Mansfield's picture

This is the first time I have heard of your beer. As a Libertarian, I despise the moronic judgement the feckless "watchdog" is trying to lay upon you. In response, I went to Total today and bought two bottles. I wish you the best.

Kenny
Shenandoah, TX

Charlie's picture

Bravo! Not Bravado. I think they may have misspelled.

Brian Lenzo's picture

That was probably one of The Best pieces of American literature I have ever read! Greg you have written a master piece for the World and University around the globe to study and teach.

Thanks you for all you’ve done for the Craft Beer Family!

Cheers!!

Doug Constantiner's picture

This is truly inspirational. With the modern craft beer climate being so big and successful, making huge waves worldwide, it’s great to re-learn the history of such a foundational craft beer brand. As a brewery owner (and former brewer), there is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today and the craft beer industry wouldn’t be where it is today without a beer like Arrogant Bastard, a brewery like Stone Brewing, and a leader and advocate for all things ethical, flavorful, and revolutionary like Greg Koch. Well done, GK!

Cheers,
Doug

Andrew Balmuth's picture

The Portman Group’s letter is ludicrous and spins without any traction. Your reply was excellent; your voice comes through clearly and calmly as a voice of reason. You provided clarity about the Arrogant Bastard brand and Stone Brewing’s established foundation built on honesty, integrity, inclusiveness and a promise of quality. This is the total opposite of their unfounded claims. They have no points to reply to since you exposed their watch dog laziness. Nicely done as I can imagine your first reaction to reading that nonsensical letter.

Carolyn Hamstead's picture

Greg, that was exceptionally well-written, factual, and darn witty! Who was your high school English teacher?

Greg Koch's picture

Haha. My English teacher was yo' mama!

(No folks, that wasn't the punch line to a semi-questionable joke, my high school English teacher was indeed Carolyn's mother.)  :-]

Dennis Hartmann's picture

You clearly had a little bit of time on your hand and must have laughed at the words as they came out of you. Your eloquence in your response to the “Coders” is second to none, witty, really funny and on top of all: Educational to those that don’t understand Craft Beer, its cultural impact around the globe and the happiness our taste buds enjoy every time we drink Arrogant Bastard, all with a twinkle of an eye while we look at the bottle that holds this magical beer. High Five, Greg!
Dennis

Alan Clancy 's picture

Greg Koch you craft your letters just as methodically,imaginatively and expressively as you do with your beers and they pack a punch at the right time.Great stuff ,great letter ,great beer.

Ben 's picture

Very well written!

Add new comment

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.