The CEO of Southern Bay Brewing has resigned after a meme he posted on Facebook was slammed by followers.
Nick Warming posted the meme on Monday night. It read: “Non-alcoholic beer – you mean gay lemonade?”
There was an immediate backlash, with followers describing it as homophobic and offensive – especially as it is World Pride Month 2019 – and it was pulled within an hour.
Among the angry comments about the offensive meme:
“Hey wow, your social media just dropped below the quality of your beer! Congrats. Now delete this rancid post,” one Facebook user said.
“Am I… back in high school? Happy pride month,” another wrote.
Another wrote, “1954 called. They want your social media approach back.”
The brewery issued an apology “to all who were offended”.
“This was posted without any thought whatsoever and no offence was intended. I apologise unreservedly,” Warming said on Facebook.
“The post has since been deleted and we will be more careful selecting our posts in future.
“We realise this is not good enough and we should not have posted the homophobic beer meme.
“It will not happen again. It was a gross error and mistake and we would appreciate it if people were kind enough to forgive us.”
Warming later updated the post to say: “I thought I would advise that following a board meeting, I have resigned as CEO of Southern Bay Brewing Co. The board have accepted my resignation with immediate effect.”
Warming told Brews News: “I want to stress that this is not the view of any staff member at Southern Bay. I made the post myself and it was a gross error. I am truly sorry. I don’t want them to take responsibility for something that was my fault.
“All I can stress is that it was a genuine mistake. I feel absolutely horrible about it and I don’t want to vilify any particular part of the community.
“I don’t want to use excuses and I want to own it and apologise. My only intention was to promote the brewery which I clearly haven’t done well.”
Southern Bay has since deleted its Facebook page in response to the backlash.
Second meme backlash for Southern Bay
In January this year, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme (ABAC) received a complaint about another Southern Bay offensive meme.
The meme said: “There’s nothing wrong with you that me drinking six beers can’t fix”, promoted binge drinking.
The complaint to ABAC said “six beers is clearly in excess of responsible drinking practices”.
Southern Bay Brewery told ABAC it outsourced its social media to a “contracted media company based in Tasmania” and that the post was intended to be humorous, rather than offering serious advice.
“We do not believe the post suggested that the consumption of six beers suggested it would change the person’s tolerance of another individual,” the company said. “We believe the post relates to a more relaxed outlook. It certainly would not contribute to any significant change in behaviour.”
ABAC ruled that the meme implied people should use alcohol to “overcome a deficit” and implied it is acceptable to use excessive alcohol consumption to deal with difficult situations.
The post was eventually removed.
Warming has been managing Southern Bay’s social channels since that time.