Beer from Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish stirs controversy - KOTA Territory News

Beer from Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish stirs controversy


The Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish has been brewing a seasonal nut brown ale since it opened in 2007. But until recently the beer never left the brewery, and it's name was unknown to many.  

"This year was the first year that we decided to can it," said co-owner of Crow Peak Brewing Co., Josh Fritz.

The name: Bear Butte Nut Brown Ale.

"A lot of our beers are named after geographic locations in the Hills," said Fritz. "We have the Can Cream Ale named after Spearfish Canyon, the 11th Hour IPA, one of the other ones that we named after the 11th Hour Gulch."

When Native American Activist and President of the United Urban Warrior Society, James Magaska Swan, heard about the name and took the issue to facebook.

"Bear Butte is a sacred place, probably one of the most sacred places in western South Dakota to the Lakota people as well as the Northern Cheyenne Tribe," said Swan. "It's not discriminatory, it's just the very fact that you're associated alcohol with Bear Butte."

Fritz says he had no ill intent when he named the beer and plans on renaming it when the seasonal comes again.

The canned beer remains in liquor stores through the Black Hills but Swan says he won't protest the sale of the craft brew.

 "I'm not going to get that petty and I think that the way it is right now will work itself out," said Swan. "It will go away and we won't have to worry about it no more."

This was an issue resolved quickly, and cordially when two people simply talked about it.

"Two people sitting down and talking about something, it's amazing what we can accomplish," added Swan.

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