Pictured Above: The Montauk Brewing Company, as seen in their Facebook cover photo.

Back in early June when the world was still newly horrified by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, owners of the Montauk Brewing Company hand-lettered their support for the Black Lives Matter movement on a chalkboard sign outside the brewery’s Erie Ave., Montauk location.

It took nearly six weeks for the inner viral workings of the internet to unleash a backlash against the sign, when a private Facebook group called “Defund Montauk Brewing Company,” created Aug. 12, ballooned to nearly 20,000 members within four days looking to boycott the business.

The group says its purpose is to “bring awareness Due The recent events that montauk brewing company has decided to take and make a poor decision by supporting a anti American terrorist group.”

The group’s administrators are Valeria and Rob Frank — according to their Facebook profiles, Mr. Frank lives in Farmingdale and Ms. Frank lives in Nassau County but is originally from Moscow, Russia. Neither of their public profiles list that they have any Facebook friends.

The message that sparked the controversy.

The June 3 message on the sign stated “the founders and team at Montauk Brewing Company support the movement with all our hearts. Black lives matter. We have donated and will continue to support organizations that further the cause. Come as you are. ❤️ Montauk Brewing Co.”

Trouble began brewing in mid-August on an Aug. 7, 2019 post on the microbrewery’s Facebook page advertising an innocuous-seeming limited edition t-shirt with a line drawing of the brewery and its “Come As You Are” tagline, which received nearly 250 comments as of this writing.

Detractors reposted photos of the chalkboard message supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, while supporters said the message was all the more reason to drink Montauk’s beer. Here are some of the more family-friendly comments:

“I don’t see the blackboard on the t-shirt where you liberal losers support BLM..I hope your happy when you file for chapter 11,” said one detractor, Michael Colwell.

“Never again! You choose to support an organization that does not save lives, does not support the lives they claim to. Only to destroy and kill LEO of all races. Educate yourself on the organization that you support. Is that really what you stand with?!!!” said Danielle Russo.

“Done supporting your company. Bad choice on your part. Shameful in fact. Did you even research BLM and google things said by their leaders? Google what goes on at their riots? What they advocate? This Long Island family is done with your beer,” said Patti Murphy. “We will be dumping what we have in the fridge and will NOT be giving you anymore money so that you can funnel it to that hate group. Our growler will be going into the recycling trash!”

There were many supporters as well.

“This Long Island family supports you and will continue buying your great beers! Thank you for standing up for what is right,” said Barbara Both Wasilausky.

“Why do folks feel that saying Black Lives Matter means that Blue Lives do not? Help me understand,” said Melissa Davidson.

“Support -! Love your beer and will be sure to openly acknowledge this!,” said Patrice K. O’Malley Miller.

On Aug. 15, the brewery’s founders, Vaughan Cutillo and Eric Moss, issued an open letter to the community.

“We are a small community-based, 10-person business that has always wanted all people to have good vibes — no matter who they are. Our tagline “Come As You Are” is about inclusivity — we want everyone who likes bear to feel great,” he wrote. “That is why, this past June, we spoke up about an event that displayed racism and responded by donating to two nonprofits, BEAM (focused on emotional/mental health and healing) and the NAACP. While our post received overwhelming support initially, recent responses made us realize that we should clarify and affirm our intent. Our post was specifically in support of racial equality. We unequivocally and unapologetically, stand against racism and violence in any capacity.”

“We also have, and always will support our police, first responders, nurses, doctors, fire departments and the military for their unwavering help, protection and selflessness,” he added. “Because they are good people doing good things, and protecting the good vibe mantra that our brewery stands for.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

9 thoughts on “Brewery Stands Up to Black Lives Matter Backlash

  1. Just an answer to one of the people mentioned in your article; “Why do folks feel that saying Black Lives Matter means that Blue Lives do not? Help me understand,” said Melissa Davidson. BLM does not believe “blue lives” matter. In fact, they have called for and received the deaths of cops as some sort of sick retaliation. Blm of course doesn’t believe ALL black lives matter either. Only the relatively few killed by cops. You have to ask yourself WHY that is.

    1. Because black lives do matter. As much as all others do but BLM does not care one bit about black lives or they would be marching in Chicago against all the black lives. They are just a terrorist arm of the Democratic Party that could care less. BLM is represented by people who believe that looting is just and it goes towards reparations and that white people should just give what they have to black people because they deserve it. Now I don’t believe that all black people believe this bullshit as much as I believe all whites don’t

  2. So they support
    an organization that supports the breakup of the black family and despises churches… the same churches that support and bring together …. black families… calling for killing Law enforcement burning Bibles and Flags…

  3. When companies throw themselves into political issues they force people to take sides. You may think losing a large percentage of your business won’t affect you however I doubt you have the security that big business does and can bounce back.
    Good luck, you’re going to need it.

  4. It was to much to just be quiet and keep your opinions to yourself?? Weather you were trying to drum up more business or whatever your intentions were you probably should of thought it thru a little better.. Oh well I guess thats that bars are sending full kegs back and people not buying off the shelves.. But believe this Montauk will be a better place without you.. Oh and your buddys down the block at the Crows Nest now everyone knows they organized the BLM protest in Montauk so they will probably be leaving rite behind you.. Good Luck and CYA!!!!

  5. Montauk Brewery. Prove us all wrong. Please comment as to why you think BLM isn’t a hate group? If BLM is such a great organization please list all of the good they have done for the Black community? Communities like the ones in Chicago? Show us. Please provide an explanation of why BLM beat a white man half to death in the streets of Portland? Maybe you can explain why they chant Kill the Pigs and Defund the Police. You all claim to be in support of First responders?

  6. Bottom line is they have never, nor will they ever, understand what it is to be Police Officers of any and all ranks. No idea what it means to toe a line thats as thin as as the line you fish with. No idea what it means to go into a robbery in progress with firearms and go into wherever it is , by yourself at times, and confront however how many of them they are, all the while trying to save the lives of the victims inside.. Name the crime.
    Oh yeah least we forget 9/11.. Where Officers, HEROES, from multiple departments, gave their lives, their LIVES for people like you.. Must be nice having a business about as far away from NYC , Nassau , and the most east of Suffolk as you can get..
    Police in a year, in this country , answer over 300,000,000 calls. They save lives. They step up against the most violent offenders. Most violent crimes that you only see by watching a movie made by Hollywood. Have you ever given a baby CPR to save his/her life? Ever go to a gang shooting? Cops do it daily. Have you done anything besides MBC? But we are horrible people. You offended every cop of every rank in every department in NY.. YOU.. not anyone else…Never will buy your product. My family and extended family won’t either…
    BTW.. Google Susan Rosenberg.
    Founder of BLM b4 it was BLM and now is on their board of directors. She bombed police precincts.
    Thats who you support.
    Never Forget 9/11

  7. No one has a problem or blowback to the racist realtor Valeria Frank? She actively created a racist hate group to take away the livelihood for a business that is NOT racist? No one is bothering to boycott her firm racist Exit Realty???

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