The Proudly Progressive Minocqua Brewing Company Makes Beer To Fight COVID Deniers

by Rudy Sanchez on 10/20/2021 | 2 Minute Read

Kirk Bangstad used to run a brewpub in the small community of Minocqua, Wisconsin, but then the pandemic forced him to shut his doors and shift to selling beers in 2020. His decision to cease indoor dining came from a desire to protect his employees and patrons from COVID but was met with politically motivated derision in his mostly Republican-leaning region and caused the progressive-minded pub owner to speak up and brew with a political mission.

The economic and health consequences of calling COVID a hoax motivated Bagstad to use his business to counteract the political forces that oppose public health strategies such as mask mandates in schools. The Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC (Political Action Committee) uses “dark money” political finance laws to support campaigns against politicians and groups Bagstad feels help perpetuate the same misinformation and hate that fueled the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and are downplaying the seriousness of the COVID pandemic.

Editorial photograph

Minocqua Brewing’s progressive bent is further evident on its beer labels. The craft brewer’s offerings include a Biden Beer described as an “inoffensive and not bitter” Kolsch, and it features the president sporting his signature aviator shades. Bernie Beer is a “lovingly irascible and democratic socialist lager,” and “,la” is an imperial stout that is a tribute to Vice President Harris’ inspirational trajectory, a nod to conservative talking heads’ instance on mispronouncing her name, and the label is a duo-tone depiction of a woman in a powerful stride with a schoolgirl in the background. Filibuster Ale is a filbert, or hazelnut-infused brown ale, that's a direct critique of Senator Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist strategy.

The Minocqua Brewing SuperPAC is currently funding lawsuits aimed at forcing local school districts to follow current CDC guidelines, as school districts across the country have become lightning rods for conservative activism on issues such as COVID, Critical Race Theory, and student transgender athletics.

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