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LA Craft Beer Newcomer Keeps Serving Up Insults Online [Update]

Sunset Strip Brewery doesn't even have a space yet

Brewing equipment
Brewing equipment
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

File this one away in the "oh no" category, as fledgeling craft beer makers Sunset Strip Brewery are ruffling feathers within the tight-knit Los Angeles beer community. Many see the newcomer as having no respect for LA's beer scene, and accuse the company of being dismissive, disrespectful, and in at least one case downright inappropriate on both Twitter and Facebook. Sunset Strip Brewery, it should be noted, so far does not have a physical brewing space, nor do they have an opening date. In fact, they’re little more than a Twitter account at the moment, but that’s already been enough to get them into some hot water.

First, to backtrack: Sometime around the first of the year, a new brewing operation using the moniker Sunset Strip Brewery kicked up out of nowhere with a Facebook page, Twitter account, and (currently offline) website. Apparent co-owner Mark Wade was for a time doing all the usual things, talking about the company’s upcoming plans, retweeting beer photos from others around town, and engaging with the larger LA craft beer community.

Then just a couple of days ago, the brewery's Twitter account (manned by Wade — or possibly someone else using the account, more on that in a moment) started tweeting around asking for some media attention. More specifically, he referenced a sexual act while wondering why more bloggers weren't writing his project up. (This despite not having beer to serve them yet or a brewery to produce it in.)

Lots of folks within the craft beer scene took offense to the language used in those tweets and said so, which turned into a tumbledown of replies and responses from Sunset Strip Brewery, each one unseemlier than the last. Eventually Wade claimed to have been hacked, bowing out of the 'discussion' after a few hours. The brewery's tweets have since been deleted, but their side of the whole exchange is visible in this screenshot over on local craft beer blog Don't Drink Beer.

The discussion then migrated over to the company's Facebook page, where Sunset Strip Brewing seemed to fess up to the whole Twitter fiasco, claiming that one of the company’s "hothead" partners (someone other than Wade, apparently) got a hold of the account and "upset some people" after feeling slighted. The still-viewable Facebook 'open letter' goes on, becoming less of an apology and more of a take-no-prisoners screed on the company’s plans for large growth and regional dominance, capped off with allusions to the company's founders being as visionary as "Steve Jobs and Edison."

The Facebook post also offhandedly says that Los Angeles doesn’t have any breweries to be proud of, and that brewmasters or anyone "with the shovel pushing the buttons" is not an artist, at least when it comes to making beer. As numerous commenters on the post have been pointing out, Los Angeles has lots of award-winning breweries under its belt, with more opening all the time, but that hasn't stopped Sunset Strip Brewery from doubling down, calling LA a "craft beer wasteland."

Disgruntled craft beer lovers have been continuing to lambast Sunset Strip Brewery across social media, even leaving one-star reviews for the company on Facebook — again, despite the fact that the brewery has yet to open its doors or make a single beer. In Sunset Strip Brewery's latest series of tweets, the brewery says it is "done playing nice" and that bloggers and "trolls" are bringing them down.

Per the information previously available on Sunset Strip Brewery's own Facebook and Twitter pages, the plan is to actually partner up with someone local to build a brewery somewhere on the Sunset Strip (or at least a pilot brewhouse, where they can make small batches of test brews and outsource the creation of larger quantities to a commercial brewery). But now after facing so much pushback, Sunset Strip Brewery tweeted that the company's plans to move into the LA market are up in the air, as "LA just isn't the right place for our brewery."

It's also possible that this could all be a ruse, albeit a long-running one. As one Facebook commenter points out, the brewery has a non-functional website, no physical address, and no filing with the ABC, all of which doesn't exactly scream authentic.

Eater has reached out multiple times to Sunset Strip Brewery to discuss these issues and the company’s possible plans moving forward, but so far they've declined to talk.

Update: Sources confirm that Sunset Strip Brewery is, as suggested, a fabrication, apparently put on by the folks over at Worst Beer Blog.