Coal Town Liquor Stores Pull Craft Brews Over Support for Green Group

AP

Liquor stores in a Colorado coal town are pulling craft beers from their shelves after a number of their brewers donated to an environmental group working to shut down coal mines.

"Craig is a coal mine town," Lori Gillam, one Craig, Colo., liquor store owner, told a the Craig Daily Press. "We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians … who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines."

Gillam’s liquor store, Stockmen’s, pulled several beer brands from its shelves, including the popular Fort Collins-based New Belgium, over their support for the group.

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WildEarth Guardians has since taken down its website’s list of corporate supporters, but a cached version remains online.

Owners of a number of Craig’s restaurants and liquor stores were livid that their products were supporting efforts to restrict one of the area’s chief economic engines, the Daily Press reported.

[Eastside Liquor owner Ryan] Duran pulled three shelves full of New Belgium beer on Monday, and he doesn’t intend to order any more from the company’s beer representative, who is supposed to be in Craig on Wednesday.

Danny Griffith, who owns JW Snack's restaurant in Craig, helped lead the effort to stop selling New Belgium in Moffat County.

"I had a band in here on Friday night and somebody came up to me and said, ‘Did you know that New Belgium is on board with WildEarth Guardians?’ I confirmed it, and after I confirmed it, I walked up to my bartender and said, ‘Get that s— out from behind my bar,’" Griffith said. "I can’t see supporting a company that supports a company that’s trying to put us out of business. The very beer I’m selling is trying to put me out of business, because they're in bed with WildEarth Guardians."

After he pulled the beer, he proceeded to take down all New Belgium signs in his restaurant. Duran also has pulled New Belgium signs from his business.

New Belgium confirmed that it had donated to WildEarth but said that it had no plans to continue doing so. The brewer said it was unaware of the group’s anti-coal advocacy.