Erik Lars Myers
In response to the passing of HB2 — an anti-LGBT law in North Carolina that discriminates against gay and transgender residents by limiting their use of public restrooms — the state’s beer industry has come together to protest the legislation with a beer called Don't Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison.
In March, the North Carolina legislature convened to pass House Bill 2 in a move that advocates praised as protecting women and children in public restrooms. The bill effectively nullified local ordinances that previously allowed gay and transgender residents to select a restroom based on their gender identity rather than biological sex.
So far, 36 of the state’s breweries have agreed to sell the beer — a collaboration between two brewers — on tap, with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting two LGBT advocacy groups, Equality NC and QORDS. The beer will be ready for release by mid-May, and represents a powerful anti-discrimination effort by the beer industry, which accounted for $1.2 in economic impact on the state, according to the Brewers Association.
“We didn't feel like HB2 represented us as businesses or as residents of North Carolina,” Erik Lars Myers, the CEO and head brewer of Mystery Brewing Co., told NPR. “We have the ability to make a significant social impact by working together for a greater good.”
Myers created Don’t Be Mean to People with Keil Jansen, the brewmaster of Ponysaurus Brewing Co. in Durham.
The passing of HB2 in North Carolina follows another controversial anti-LGBT law, Mississippi’s Religious Freedom bill, which allows businesses the right to refuse service to LGBT customers based on their religious beliefs. In response to Mississippi’s new law, hundreds of restaurants have chosen to participate in a special restaurant week in late April based on the slogan, “Everyone’s Welcome Here.”
“Our industry serves a diverse customer base and we want to make sure all customers are appreciated and welcomed,” Mike Cashion, the executive director of the MHRA, said in a statement.