I have, myself, been mad at beer. One time I drank several too many Smithwick’s at a pub quiz, and the following morning had the worst beer shits in the history of mankind. Fuckin’ beer! This is not like that: Seattle Sounders fans are mad at beer for, like, appropriation, or whatever.
According to this News Tribune report, some Sounders fans are pissed at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewing Co. for using a social media hashtag in the naming of a beer meant to honor the MLS side:
The beer was initially named “Deuce Juice” in honor of Sounders star Clint Dempsey. But, prior to the beer being labeled, Three Magnets was contacted by Major League Soccer and asked to change the branding, explained brewery owner Nate Reilly.
Three Magnets opted to name the beer #EBFG (which stands for Eternal Blue, Forever Green) instead.
The use of the #EBFG hashtag in the naming of the beer apparently upset members of the Emerald City Supporters, an “independent supporters group of Seattle Sounders FC.” #EBFG, you see, is in heavy use among Sounders fans, and so a beer that, umm, shares their enthusiasm for the team, and in their very own internet lingo, is bad?
What I want to know, right here and right now, is why soccer has to have this stuff. Because in order to understand why this beer fight is a thing, I feel like I need to wade into the outsized, tribalized performance of fandom that is such a prominent feature of soccer fandom. I am a very devoted Wizards fan; as far as I know, being a very devoted Wizards fan does not mean joining some guild of Wizards fans, with chapters and hashtags and shit. I don’t own a single Wizards scarf! I just, you know, watch the games? And root for the players? If someone made a Wizards beer, I would probably give it a try? Just drink the beer, guys. Or don’t! IT’S A HASHTAG.
At any rate, here we are: Three Magnets apparently should not have used this social media hashtag without asking permission of, I dunno, some person who has tattooed their entire body green in order to express their support of team that plays a few dozen soccer matches a year. In response, the owner of Three Magnets wrote a long and silly Reddit post, titled “Yet another reason so many of us fans can’t stand ECS,” [EDIT: This is the name of the original post, which was not written by anyone from Three Magnets. I misunderstood Reddit.] detailing his life as a soccer fan, the growth of his brewery, local demographics, the economic realities of professional beer brewing, and the fact of Clint Dempsey having a brother, in order to explain how a Twitter hashtag became the name of a beer.
The weekend went by, we brewed the beer, and the following week the MLS asked us to change the branding. We immediately called the label company to luckily find out that they had not printed the labels yet for the cans. At this point we basically had to get the replacement labels ordered ASAP in order to get them shipped in time, as we had promised a lot of people that another round of Deuce Juice would drop on the 29th, and we wanted to still meet that obligation even if with a different name.
With Deuce Juice blowing up on the internet, and lots of Timbers fans mocking it, there were a ton of Sounders fans sticking up for it. And usually with the #EBFG hashtag. So it just seemed like the obvious choice. Being on a super short timeline, and literally seeing #EBFG everywhere, it just didn’t seem like something to run past a lawyer.
So, regardless of the creator of “Eternal Blue, Forever Green” not having a problem with us using the hashtag, some people are taking this as us appropriating the culture of Sounders fans.
I guess I don’t know what that means. We have worked very hard to build a Sounders destination in the South Sound. We’ve literally had customers storm out mid meal because there were two people watching a soccer match and we wouldn’t put on Monday Night Football. We’ve paid our dues and worked hard to cultivate a fan base in the South Sound. I feel that this effort puts us in the squarely in the position of being contributors to the culture of Sounders fans, not outsiders leaching off their culture to make a quick buck. And we feel that this can release ultimately contributes to the culture of the fan base by celebrating the Sounders from an honest place.
It’s beer. Beer.
h/t Old Beige Guy