Racist Beer Slogan For 'Bavarian Black Lager'? 'Slave To Flavor' By Heartland Brewery Draws Fire

An advertisement by a New York brewery is getting criticism as a racist beer slogan. The ad is by Heartland Brewery for Bavarian Black Lager. Their slogan accompanying the beer reads, "You'll be a SLAVE to the FLAVOR."

This isn't going over well with a lot of people, according to New York Daily News.

Kirsten John Foy, of the National Action Network, considers the beer's slogan "absolutely inappropriate, offensive and intentionally provocative." He hints at the Michael Brown shooting and impassioned protests that soon followed -- reflecting on the country's strong divide on racial matters.

"At a time when race relations are at the heart of the national and local discourse, Heartland Brewery has decided to evoke the pain and trauma of our nation's most shameful and hateful legacy and use it as a cheap marketing ploy."

There were drinkers at Heartland's Midtown location who weren't acutely aware of how the slogan could be interpreted. Onc resident speaking with the Daily News thought again after it was pointed out to her.

"Now I feel bad that I didn't recognize it before," Natalie King, a white resident of Astoria, says. "I think these days people are immune to the word slave."

People are served Bavarian Black Lager in a glass featuring a white woman in a red corset holding a whip as she stands over a white man on his hands and knees in a prison-like fetish outfit as he balances a glass of the lager on his bottom. The word "slave" is illustrated with an S&M theme.

The lager is dark and mildly bitter with ruby highlights. It also consists of chocolate and caramel malts, and has 6.5% alcohol.

Employees reveal that the Bavarian Black Lager has been a staple of their winter drinks for years and has always been served in "slave" glasses. The beer is available from mid-October through January, Heartland Brewery's website says. The lager's slogan hasn't been an issue until now. Heartland Brewery owner, Joe Bloostein, explains that the term "slave" on the glasses "clearly refers" to the master-slave S&M scene and nothing else. He adds that linking the word "slave" and "black" on the product is "farfetched."

"Connecting the world 'black' in Bavarian Black Lager to black people is incredibly farfetched. Alleging any connection to racism is ridiculous."
How do African-Americans feel about the controversy? Anna Anderson manages the Union Square location of the brewery and said, "I really haven't heard that about (the beer)." Her black employees claim they aren't offended by the phrase that's being portrayed as a racist beer slogan. For example, Taryn Harris, who works at Union Square, isn't upset by it.
"It's a beer. I didn't interpret it that way. People are slaves to whatever they like. They're a slave to their addictions, be it food or sex. That's how I interpreted it, as an addiction, not anything else."
Maquino Sylvester, who's a waiter at the Union Square location, feels the beer's image is "hot" and that he's "not offended."
"It's supposed to be something hot. I'm not offended, but I'm no racist. Why should we focus on black or white? We are all going to the same place one day."
Do you think the Bavarian Black Lager caption has a racist beer slogan?

[Image via New York Daily News]