Over the weekend a fan of Hamilton brewer and bar Good George noted how similar taps at an Auckland’s Headquarters bar were to their custom taps. The bar’s owner, gross hospitality personality Leo Molloy, found the post and went apeshit. Here, Good George’s Race Louden responds.
Ron Burgundy would be mightily impressed at how quickly things escalated for us at Good George over the weekend. A customer at a DB bar in Auckland snapped a picture of some beer taps that look exactly like ours. We own the tap design and have had over 200 of them custom-made for us in Hamilton for bars that pour our beer across New Zealand. This was clearly a rip-off of our design by a big player – perhaps no surprise when so many craft brewers are now collectively chipping away the big producers’ base.
It was irritating for us and we had lots of feedback from beer circles over the weekend. This has never happened quite like this before so we thought we’d ask a few more customers about it before we decided what to do. If it bothered them, then maybe we should be more bothered by it. A quick post on Facebook and the bulk of the comments told us to just keep making beer that tastes good. Or as one of them put it, “different beer, that’s all that matters”.
But then the bar owner jumped in and utterly lost his shit. Leo Molloy blamed the tap installers, DB, then admitted the taps might be a copy, before attacking, in a truly vile way, one of our customers who had dared to stand up for us against his onslaught. What was entertaining at first got ugly fast, so we removed his thread.
Our customers are right. The taps don’t matter so much. What comes out of the taps does. We’ll stick to making better beer without the drama. But at an industry level it does feel like someone is taking the piss as well as our taps. This kind of behaviour from a big brewer feels pretty unnecessary with a thousand other taps to choose from.
The taps are maybe a small issue for now – but where does it stop? Incidents like this blur the lines between small craft and big brewery craft. Perhaps that was the intention but who knows? It’s interesting that we haven’t heard a peep out of DB [Editor’s note: DB have been approached for comment]. It would be a pretty quick chat. Be our guest, take the taps – hell we’ll even send you the plans, because it’s what comes out of them that counts.
But if this is where the industry is headed as more innovative and smaller players come to market then we have to hold our own ground and if necessary even take up the fight. We encourage other small craft breweries to do the same.
The Society section is sponsored by AUT. As a contemporary university we’re focused on providing exceptional learning experiences, developing impactful research and forging strong industry partnerships. Start your university journey with us today.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.