US brewer Scofflaw has announced “war” on British firm Frank PR after it sent a “rogue” press release which claimed to offer free beer for “Trump supporters”.
In a statement released to Catering Today this afternoon, headlined ‘US beer brand Scofflaw goes to war after Trump fiasco’, the brewer said “the damage was done”. Frank PR previously issued a statement on 27 September which said the PR company was investigating the incident internally.
But Scofflaw said it had lost its UK distributor and a US partner immediately following the release and added that several US retailers declined to carry their products after being “repulsed by the Trump connection”.
It added that “even when Brewdog quickly realised that the press release was false they didn’t rescind their decision to withdraw distribution services…Brewdog did not work with Scofflaw to repair the arrangement”.
Matt Shirah, CEO of Scofflaw, said, “We spent many months and dollars planning our brand launch and events across the UK. I wanted to engage a PR firm but did not know which. When Manifest was not made available to us, I asked for recommendations. I thought certainly that my ‘partner’ would know some reputable firms. I took one recommendation, Frank, checked out their client list, and took them on.
“I expect it was naive for me to believe that they would have, or should have, a robust protocol when it comes to releasing messages that can have a global impact on a client’s brand, especially given the current political environment.”
He added: “So, yes it has been a disappointing experience on many fronts. We have been thrown under several buses at one time. I will resist the urge to offer more commentary at this point, however I expect it will all come out in the wash. I would add one thing however we do beer, not politics.”
Scofflaw has since appointed Media House International to takeover its PR, calling its “fallout” with Frank “disastrous”.
Media House International chairman, Jack Irvine, said: “Scofflaw is an impressive business as is their boss Matt Shirah. He’s a veteran of ‘big four’ accounting in New York and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Along with his legal team in London I am going to help him resolve this mess.”
Catering Today has contacted Frank PR and Brewdog for comment.