The craft beer industry is very competitive these days. In the St. Louis area alone I’ve lost count of how many local breweries we have.
Alpha Brewing is located in downtown St. Louis on Washington Avenue. It’s not a big player in the local market like Urban Chestnut or Schaffly. It’s also located in an area hurting for business. Due to a mostly false perception of crime many are choosing to party at Ballpark Village and Wheelhouse which they perceive as safer options. I’ve been told in the last week that business at Dubliner is down 40% from two years ago and the pizzeria on Washington and Tucker is on the verge of closure.
In this climate comes Alpha Brewing with a label highly offensive to Muslims. The label itself borrows on tired stereotypes of Muslims. The label isn’t funny. Nor is it harmless. The offensive label comes in a climate of hate and fear of Muslims. There is an Islamophobia industry in America that works on this full time.
The goal of the campaign of otherizing and dehumanizing Muslims is ultimately political and racial. The political aim of dehumanizing Muslims is to gain either silence or support for drone strikes against Muslims, wars against Muslims, support for Israel, and the erosion of civil-liberties of Muslims in America.
The racial goals are the product of otherizing Muslims in opposition to Euronormative belief and practices. Instead of complaining about immigration and jobs being taken by non-whites the critic or jokester can hide behind the religion isn’t race card.
Alpha Brewing has shown the ugly side of St. Louis. The St. Louis with centuries of racial oppression and turmoil perpetuated by a white elite. The St. Louis we saw light up after the killing of Mike Brown.
There is a much better side to St. Louis. Last night I broke my Ramadan fast at the Dar al-Jalal Mosque on Dunn Road in Hazelwood. The mayor of Hazelwood, the city manager, the fire chief, and members of the city council joined us. Thursday night there will be a similar open house at the Dar al Islam mosque in West St. Louis County.
You can always win a few friends by dividing people just like you can always get laughs by picking on the unpopular kid at school. If that’s how Alpha Brewing wants to operate that’s their right. I’d ask the beer buying public to not support a company that deliberately seeks to offend an already marginalized segment of the population.