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Magic Hat plans to tame Circus Boy label

Published August 15, 2007 at 4:00 a.m.

The folks at Magic Hat Brewing Co. never thought their Circus Boy Hefeweizen label would be construed as racist. But a few of their distributors expressed concern about its artwork, which depicts an ebony creature with glowing eyes crouched in a cage. The figure looks more Gollum than human, but given the use of the word "boy" and the context of enslavement, it could be construed as an African-American. "We looked at it and were like, 'Oh, my goodness,'" says Supreme Dreamer and Schemer Stacey Steinmetz.

Although the company hasn't received complaints from customers, Steinmetz reports, the label is up for a change. "The design was always intended to evolve. We're all about constantly evolving our packaging and trying to keep things new," she explains.

Speaking of evolution, the microbrewery's beers recently scored some time on the big screen in the Justin Timberlake vehicle Alpha Dog. "I believe it was a student or someone who had gone to UVM and was working in the industry. He said, 'Hey, you wanna do this?' and we said, 'Sure,'" relates Steinmetz. But in the two years between sending off their products and seeing the finished film, folks at the plant forgot. "It was kind of thrilling" when it actually happened, Steinmetz says.

Are they planning more placements? Says Steinmetz, "We get calls every once in a while. We're not actively out there seeking it."

And at least one person has a gripe about their inclusion. On the Internet Movie Database, the "Magic" moment is listed as a blooper. Why? Because the New England company's beers aren't sold in California, where the film takes place.

Magic Hat's not the only local brew showing up in flicks. There's a prominently placed Harpoon Brewery logo in Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Makes sense, since the biz's "other location" is right in B-town, where the movie takes place.

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About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose, butcher a pig, make ramen from scratch, and cook a scallop perfectly.


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