Racism allegations slow flow at original US black beer festival


The producer of the country’s first African-American beer festival is still awaiting the launch of an investigation more than a week after he and others said the general manager of the international brewery chain’s Pittsburgh franchise / Hofbrauhaus beer gardens verbally abused his salespeople with racist language and potentially caused the early closure of the Peaceful Holiday. Despite the prior meeting with the Managing Director of Hofbrau and the brewery’s repeated invitation to participate in the fourth annual open-air festival, Barrel and flow festival Founder Day Bracey says Vince Quinzio may have inappropriately cut the power on the music scene next to the brewery. He says Quinzio definitely called the police for baseless noise violations, stopped black attendees from entering the restaurant, and yelled at production crews that his customers wanted “these niggers to go” and “get rid of them.” of these animals “.

“I’m used to hate as a black man in America. To me that’s nothing new, ”says Bracey, who calls for a temporary boycott of the brewery until he feels his local franchise owners take decisive action against Quinzio. “What angers me is the reaction from Hofbrauhaus and SouthSide Works.”

Saying “deeply concerned about what we heard,” after a virtual meeting with Bracey last week, the franchise owners have ported on social networks to announce that they have suspended Quinzio pending the results of an investigation. On Friday, they promised to announce the retention of an independent law firm to conduct the said investigation in a few days.

Although Bracey has held his internationally acclaimed Festival of Beer and the Arts (voted America’s second best beer festival by USA Today readers) at various locations in Pittsburgh, this is the first time he has held it. stands outside SouthSide Works National Historic District, which combines public performance spaces with riverside walkways, apartments and retail and restaurants like Hofbrau. About 2,000 people from many races attended the paid event on Saturday, September 11, which was allowed to run from mid-afternoon until 9 p.m. He says the local noise ordinance allows live music until 10 p.m.

Instead, Bracey says, after mysteriously losing power to one of the two stages on several occasions, the SouthSide Works organization that owns the property in front of the stage manually unplugged the power cables to shut down the entertainment around 7:30 a.m. . As a result, his Grammy Award-winning headliners couldn’t play. Bracey says he’s still waiting for responses from SouthSide Works, which didn’t return a phone call late Thursday afternoon, while the Urban Redevelopment Association, which owns the stage itself, examines power issues. , general event procedures and a possible lawsuit against Hofbrau.

Hofbrau employees have publicly shared anecdotes on Quinzio’s toxic behavior and privately told Bracey that the property has no plans to fire him unless they can find audio or visual evidence of the charges. However, says Bracey, the franchise owners have yet to contact the witnesses he provided.

While they expressed deep concern that the otherwise successful festival was overshadowed by these negative reports, two of the witnesses hired to manage production elements shared their own dismay and disgust.

“The Managing Director of Hofbrau did some racist and crappy things,” wrote Alex Bard, COO of Hearcorp A / V, a lighting and production agency. “I only saw the end of it when he showed up with 10 to 15 policemen shouting, ‘I have my own police. “To the credit of the Pittsburgh Police, when they figured out what was going on, they immediately reduced their number to about four officers and told the GM to come inside or he would be arrested. was the fifth 911 call he made that day.

“Yes, the manager of Hofbrauhaus was threatening and terrible to people during the festival… and he undoubtedly did everything to hinder (the) mission… celebrate black culture and create deep bonds with people”, sends an e -mail to digital content producer Buzzy Torek. “In the end, he didn’t succeed because our photos are filled with only smiles all around.”

Using the slogan ‘Black Arts on Tap’, Bracey designed Barrel & Flow expressly to provide and present economic opportunities for black creative professionals to uplift Pittsburgh – already home to one of the most successful craft beer communities. more inclusive country – as an attractive option. for resettlement and investment. Since its inception in 2017, the event has brought together top black and white craft brewers and brewery owners as well as black restaurateurs, visual artists, musicians, academics, activists, poets, beer lovers and entertainment enthusiasts.

“With so many witnesses and all this planning, bringing money and attention to this area… for Hofbrauhaus to bring racism to an anti-racist festival… their handling of this has been telling,” Bracey said.

Hofbrauhaus of America, which imports Hofbrau beer and serves as a franchisor for the seven locations in the United States, issued its own statement. Emphasizing that its franchises operate independently, the Las Vegas-based company writes: “We have been in contact with Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh to ensure this situation is resolved and to ensure that Hofbräuhaus’ non-discriminatory standards are met. “

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