In a blog post, East End owner Scott Smith said the name was originally chosen 13 years ago for the banana flavor found in the beer, which was also a reference from the 1984 sci-fi movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Smith, who is white, says he was surprised when a customer asked him to change the name, but understood where they were coming from.
"If someone walking into our place for the first time (whether they “get the references” or not), feels like we’re being shitty toward an entire group of people, then we’ve failed. Miserably," writes Scott.
There is a long history of using monkeys as racist imagery or verbal attacks on Black people. The brewery's decision comes during a spike in organizations and brands changing names with a racist history.
Smith says East End decided to change the name soon after the complaint, but wanted to wait until the new name and packaging were ready to announce it.