The confrontation over a Chicago Latin American-owned brewery and a certain hotel owner is now being told in documentary form.
"F*** Your Hair", by Chicago-based filmmakers One City Films, opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 164 N. State St., with showings Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 5 pm, and on Wednesday, January 30, at 6 pm. Another screen is schedule for February 24, 7 pm, at Space, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.
The film interviews the principals in the story around 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. This brewery is co-owned by a Latin American immigrant couple, Andrés Araya and Milagros Ramirez. They had been in contact with Mauricio Kuri, then the food & beverage manager for Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, about contract-brewing a "house beer" for the hotel's bar and restaurant. The result was a light blond beer called Trump's Golden Ale.
Then in 2015, when Donald Trump announced his Presidential run, he opened a race-baiting slam against Mexican immigrants, calling them “rapists” and "drug dealers." Araya and Ramirez were originally from Costa Rica and Peru, respectively, and had come to the United States by way of Mexico, where they had first made plans for a brewery based on Latin cultures and ingredients. Many of the brewery's other officers and employees were immigrants, who took deep offense at Trump's stance. They made the risky decision to pull the beer from the hotel.
This left them with two problems: what to do with 50 kegs of the beer, and what would be the blowback from beer buyers and the Trump organization.
The story of the cancelled beer contract went big in the wake of the news that NBC and Univision had severed ties with Trump-owned productions like "The Apprentice" and the Miss Universe pageant. Monica Eng, reporter for WBEZ public radio, is interviewed noting that after she broke the story on-air, the corresponding post on their blog became their second most-read news story of 2015.
Meantime, sales director Cesar “Champi” Garza was among those who started calling 5 Rabbit's draft accounts, hoping to find someone to buy the beer. All the kegs were spoken for within 20 minutes.
In preparing the kegs for shipping, some brewery employees began writing "Chinga tu Madre, Donald!" on the keg collars, over the "Trump's Golden Ale." 5 Rabbit's officer decided to officially rename the beer in reference to Trump's combover, and the claim that in Spanish, well, "Chinga can mean many things." They tried that line with an agent at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in their application for label approval. The agent called them out on it, but then said the name was covered by the First Amendment.
Among the establishments that picked up Chinga tu Pelo was Michael Roper of Hopleaf, who noted in the film that when there are 6,000 brewers out there, they like to feature one that has a "story." Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner of 50/50 Restaurant Group (Roots Pizza) stocked the beer in support of the many immigrants who work in the service industry.
Response to the message, and to the beer itself, led 5 Rabbit to produce more of it, including bottles and cans.
But the movie also touches on the concern at 5 Rabbit that could get sued for cancelling their contract. It was alright for large corporations like Macy's and NBC to take a stand, when they their own lawyers and research that said any criticism or boycott by #MAGA'ts would not threaten their bottom link. % Rabbit had only their convictions and the threat of being sued out of existence. So far, it appears, that hasn't happened.