It’s not often that a local business hosts a drag brunch one week and conservative elected officials the next, but Lansing Brewing Company is known and often loved for its bipartisanship.
That appreciation turned sour this week when the brewery was announced as the host of a “MAGA Mixer” on March 26. The event was noted by local cafe Strange Matter, whose social media platforms urged the brewery to cancel the event. Locals then expressed concern, outrage and disappointment at the brewery’s decision to host the event and took to social media to push back.
“What shocked me was that Lansing Brewing Company is a space that has had a lot of politicians on both sides,” said Lansing native Ty Forquer. “What struck me as different about this one is that it’s specifically about supporting former President Trump and really pushing an agenda that fundamentally undermines faith in democracy and fair elections.”
The mixer was the second half of a two-part event hosted by conservative organizations Grand Opportunity USA and Republicans for National Renewal. It was featured on flyers and social media as a “rally in support of President Trump” and to support candidates endorsed by his Save America PAC. The groups planned to gather at the Capitol and migrate to the brewery for a social event.
After a backlash, the brewery released a statement Feb. 27 on its social media platforms saying it intended not to push a political agenda, but to host events for people from all walks of life. At that time, the event was still on the brewery’s website and scheduled on MAGA Mixer’s social media pages.
“We as a brewery do not hold political rallies,” the statement said. “We remain focused on making beer for you to complement good food and the table for conversation. That’s what we support.
For many brewery fans, however, that defense wasn’t enough. State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) weighed in on Twitterexpressing disappointment with the establishment’s decision to “give those who want to tear down our democratic process a place to do so.”
“I don’t necessarily think their statement suggests there was a level of thought as to why the event shouldn’t be happening,” Pohutsky said Wednesday. “It seems like they noticed a significant public reaction and responded to it rather than really understanding why giving people like this a platform is dangerous and destructive.”
The brewery announced on Facebook on Tuesday that after learning more about the members of the mixer, it would not be hosting the event. Disappointed people expressed their anger, tweeting that the “woke crowd” had ruined the event.
“The Morning Wakeup” host Dave Akerly of 1320 WILS-AM disagreed with those who found issues with the mixer and the decision to cancel the event.
“Lots of bullies online today locally and ‘fierce’ keyboard warriors,” he said in a tweet on Monday. “The crowd can pound sand.”
The organizations sponsoring the mixer have announced that a new location will be privately announced the day before the event to those who have an RSVP. A Lansing Brewing Company representative did not respond to a request for comment at press time.