How a Dumb Twitter Prank United the Entire L.A. Beer Community

No, there will be no Sunset Boulevard Brewery. Yes, we were all had. And yes, it was kind of a dick move

Every Twitter meltdown is a beautiful, unique snowflake. Which made this tweet from a yet-to-be-opened L.A. brewery just that much more delicious.

The above was my entry point into a days-long social media screed by an entity calling itself Sunset Strip Brewery. After getting that whiff of human failing, I, of course, was completely sucked into the drama. Here’s a recap of what went down.

Late last week, @SunsetStripBrew went on a tirade about not getting enough attention from the beer establishment of Los Angeles (mostly directed at the L.A. Brewers Guild). The folks at Don’t Drink Beer kindly pulled the following screenshot before Sunset Strip Brewery deleted the unhinged invective.

Sunset Boulevard Brewery Screen Shot

Oh yes he did. And then he deleted the tweets saying the account had been hacked (as if). Again, delicious.

The condemnation was swift and unforgiving. Beer writers from the Los Angeles Times, OCBeerBlog, and The Full Pint dove in right away. Members of the brewing community were not far behind. And then, the obligatory Sorry Not Sorry post from the brewery on Facebook. The whole thing is really worth reading, but here are some choice passages from a person calling himself Mark Wade:

  • We’ve met with many investors and we’re currently in talk with producers about television opportunities.
  • I mean, we’re brewing beer, maybe not ourselves, but that hardly matters. The person with the shovel pushing the buttons isn’t the artist. I think you’ll all agree that your favorite brewers aren’t getting their hands dirty.
  • I want LA to finally have a brewery they can be proud of… Call me crazy if you want, but they called Steve Jobs and Edison crazy too.

Wade managed to mystify, baffle and anger an entire community of people with this non apology. There was much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth—how could one person so encapsulate everything infuriating about the industry? A person who was simply in it for the money and fame, totally uninterested in the artistry of getting one’s own hands dirty?

But wasn’t this meltdown—the hacking claims, the hubristic open letter, the blatant sexism—a little too delicious?

Yup. The entire performance was the brainchild of Peter David, who runs a site called Worst Beer Blog. David is a staunch craft beer advocate who has vociferously condemned breweries that have sold out to big companies like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. Many of the tweets seemed to be satirical nuggets that skewered the brewers who have gone big.

David says that the Sunset Boulevard Brewery persona was simply an experiment, and he wanted to see how far he could push the beer community before the whole thing exploded. Ok, sure, social experiment. Fine. But let’s be real: Hoaxes are mostly designed to separate the smugly superior from the hopelessly gullible. Those who were in on the joke have been very clear on social media that they were in on it the whole time. Good for them.

Buuuuuuut, on the other hand, the ruse did unite the beer community of Los Angeles. Nothing brings together a group of people like a common enemy after all. “L.A. came through and fiercely defended their brewing scene and I thought that was pretty cool to see, ” David says. And maybe those of us who delight in the public breakdowns of others (ahem) deserve a little humble pie. I know just the right beer to pair with it.