Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh responds to allegations of racism during Black-led Barrel & Flow Fest | Social Justice | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh responds to allegations of racism during Black-led Barrel & Flow Fest

click to enlarge Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh responds to allegations of racism during Black-led Barrel & Flow Fest
CP Photo: Ryan Deto
Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh on the South Side
In a series of social media posts on Sept. 15, Barrel & Flow Fest founder Day Bracey accused the general manager of Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh of using racial slurs while complaining about Black musicians during the Barrel & Flow craft beer festival on Sept. 12. Barrel & Flow Fest was held at SouthSide Works, right next to Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh restaurant and brewery in Pittsburgh's South Side. Barrel & Flow is one of America’s only craft beer festivals focused exclusively on Black-made beer and Black brewers.

In his posts, Bracey said Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh general manager Vincent Quinzio made several complaints regarding the music played at the festival, despite the event having a permit, and allegedly called the artists and Hearcorp staff racial slurs.

“Vincent made several complaints regarding the music, despite us having a permit and giving ample notice,” Bracey said in a social media post. “At some point, he came out and exploded in a fit of rage, dropping racial slurs at artists & Hearcorp staff.”

Bracey added that they dealt with "unexplainable power issues" on their stage throughout the day, noting that the breaker for the festival resided in the Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh restaurant.

In an email sent to Pittsburgh City Paper on Sept. 15, Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh’s ownership said they are looking into the allegations and asked people to come forward with more information by sending a message to their Facebook page.

“As the owners of Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh, we celebrate all facets of diversity, equity and inclusion for our customers, staff, overall operations, our SouthSide Works neighbors and the greater Pittsburgh community,” said the owners in the statement. “We take all complaints seriously and are currently investigating those specific to last weekend's Barrel and Flow Fest.”

Hofbräuhaus of America told City Paper in an email on Sept. 17 that Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh is a franchise.

"Hofbräuhaus of America has recently been made aware of a complaint by the Barrel & Flow Festival against a staff member of Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh," wrote Katharina Gastager, Hofbräuhaus of America's director operations and merchandising. "We have been in contact with Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh to ensure this situation is addressed and to ensure that the non-discriminatory standards of Hofbräuhaus are met."

Bracey said in his social media posts that he invited Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh to participate in the festival and gave them notice ahead of time. Yet, he said they declined, then complained about the festival being too loud, and called the cops with a complaint.

According to social media posts, this was not the first SouthSide Works event that received noise complaints from Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. Co-founder of Creatives Drink Cody Baker alleged on social media that Hofbräuhaus previously made noise complaints about a yoga event during Made in Pgh's Summer Fitness Series. Another person backed up the allegation, commenting on Bracey's Facebook post about the event, writing that Made In PGH was "forced turn off the music" and the instructor's mic, causing the class to cut short. 

But the allegations of racism at Barrel & Flow fest involve more than just one instance. Buzzy Torek, a local podcast producer who helped produce Barrel & Flow Fest told City Paper that he encountered Quinzio during the festival. Torek says Quinzio would not let people who attended the festival use the restrooms in Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. But, Torek said he witnessed Quinzio allow white guests inside the restaurant.

“After puffing out his chest earlier in the day while screaming at musicians and women during soundcheck about towing cars, the conversation I was asked to have with [Quinzio] was nothing short of exhausting,” said Torek. “He told me he wasn't letting anyone with a wristband in to drink, but my white friends seemed to have no problem doing so.”

Torek added he also spoke to many close friends who also said they had encounters with Quinzio that were racist.

“It was beyond clear that he doesn't value people regardless of race, as he has been incredibly disrespectful and hateful to my white co-workers. I couldn't imagine how he is to Black people,” said Torek.
This story has been updated on Fri., Sept. 17 with an additional statement from Hofbräuhaus of America.

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