A Nazi Sympathizer Outs Himself And Michigan’s Craft Beer Community Tries To Close Down His Bar – Forbes


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Kalamazoo, MI, August 15, 2017 — Anti-Semitic pictures posted on the Facebook account of Aaron VanArdsdale, co-owner of Michigan’s Craft Draft 2 Go craft beer bar.

A craft beer taproom and store in Kalamazoo, Mich., may be forced to close after a surge of anger over posts on the Facebook page of a co-owner of the business that appear to support Nazism. With the violence sparked by a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend as a backdrop, members of the Michigan beer community are urging a boycott of the 10-month-old Craft Draft 2 Go after fellow Facebook users Tuesday flagged anti-Jewish statements on Aaron VanArdsdale’s Facebook page and pictures of him giving the Nazi salute and posing with a potentially Photoshopped swastika on his head.

Outraged customers and observers took to Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to decry the pictures and posts and to urge others not to patronize the business. However, their call for a boycott may prove moot. According to members of the local beer industry, word has it that VanArdsdale will not reopen, and if he does, at least three wholesalers plan to stop selling to him. Further, there are reports that this reporter is attempting to confirm that the business was vandalized Tuesday night, with stones thrown through a window and graffiti painted on the exterior walls.

An employee of a West Michigan brewery who does not want to be identified says he cut off contact with VanArsdale after witnessing what he calls “multiple exhibitions of casual racism” on his Facebook page. He and VanArsdale severed ties after what the brewery worker said were blatantly sexist statements online about the January pro-women’s march.

I decided to give him three strikes before unfollowing him on Facebook and he cleared them in less than a month ,” he says. “Most of the posts I saw were about African-Americans and people of Mexican heritage. He tried to pass most of them off as jokes but he’s actually being serious. This behavior was encouraged by Amy and a group of his Facebook friends.”

Three former friends of VanArsdale and his live-in girlfriend, Amy Waugaman, who interned at Kalamazoo’s Boatyard Brewing and is smiling in a picture in which her boyfriend is giving the Nazi salute, say the Iraq war veteran is “unhinged,” has known rage issues and admits to struggling with PTSD. They don’t want to identify themselves because as one says, “I don’t know anyone who’s not afraid of him.”

Another wrote in an email that the couple make her uncomfortable because they’re easily angered, dwell in the negative and don’t mind publicly shaming store employees.

“From the opening of their business, I started hearing (and witnessed once) Aaron treating bar employees poorly.  Chastising them in front of customers with demeaning comments, etc.  Amy publicly complained about one of the employees on FB also, calling him lazy and ‘from and entitled generation,’” she writes.

Facebook pages belonging to VanArsdale, Waugaman and the business have either been hidden, blocked or taken down, and at the time of the publication of this article, no one had responded to a tweet and a voice mail left at the bar’s phone number. Forty-five minutes after the bar’s scheduled opening, its website listed it as still closed.

Larry Bell, who’s headquartered his Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo for more than 30 years, says several of his employees have asked management to stop selling beer to Craft Draft. According to a newspaper article published before the store opened, VanArsdale planned to dedicate six permanent draught lines to Bell’s beers, more than any other brewery. Bell says by law, his distributors must sell beer to any account in good standing that orders it but adds that his daughter, company CEO Laura Bell, sent a memo to reassure employees Wednesday morning.

America’s craft breweries are on an environmental crusade – Popular Science

For now, the large majority craft brewers remain independent. And, in contrast to their larger counterparts, they are pushing policymakers to guard America’s natural resources.

In February, 32 craft brewers sent a letter urging senators not to confirm Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. “Our breweries cannot operate without reliable, clean water supplies,” it read. “We need an EPA administrator who will adopt and enforce policies that protect the water sources we use to make our great-tasting beer.”

It’s hard to imagine Spuds MacKenzie taking to the halls of Congress, but the new generation of American beer makers are committed conservationists. When President Trump announced the United States would leave the Paris Agreement, a coalition of mayors, governors, university presidents, businesses and investors pledged they would continue to abide by the terms of the pact. The list includes 10 craft brewers, among them, Deschutes, New Belgium and Sierra Nevada.

“We’re speaking up for what we believe in,” said Chastain. “If we can add our voice to the conversation, we’re happy to do that.”

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.

Craft Social: Design Challenge – Houston Press

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America’s craft breweries are on an environmental crusade – Popular Science

For now, the large majority craft brewers remain independent. And, in contrast to their larger counterparts, they are pushing policymakers to guard America’s natural resources.

In February, 32 craft brewers sent a letter urging senators not to confirm Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. “Our breweries cannot operate without reliable, clean water supplies,” it read. “We need an EPA administrator who will adopt and enforce policies that protect the water sources we use to make our great-tasting beer.”

It’s hard to imagine Spuds MacKenzie taking to the halls of Congress, but the new generation of American beer makers are committed conservationists. When President Trump announced the United States would leave the Paris Agreement, a coalition of mayors, governors, university presidents, businesses and investors pledged they would continue to abide by the terms of the pact. The list includes 10 craft brewers, among them, Deschutes, New Belgium and Sierra Nevada.

“We’re speaking up for what we believe in,” said Chastain. “If we can add our voice to the conversation, we’re happy to do that.”

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.

A Nazi Sympathizer Outs Himself And Michigan’s Craft Beer … – Forbes – Forbes


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Kalamazoo, MI, August 15, 2017 — Anti-Semitic pictures posted on the Facebook account of Aaron VanArdsdale, co-owner of Michigan’s Craft Draft 2 Go craft beer bar.

A craft beer taproom and store in Kalamazoo, Mich., may be forced to close after a surge of anger over posts on the Facebook page of a co-owner of the business that appear to support Nazism. With the violence sparked by a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend as a backdrop, members of the Michigan beer community are urging a boycott of the 10-month-old Craft Draft 2 Go after fellow Facebook users Tuesday flagged anti-Jewish statements on Aaron VanArdsdale’s Facebook page and pictures of him giving the Nazi salute and posing with a potentially Photoshopped swastika on his head.

Outraged customers and observers took to Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to decry the pictures and posts and to urge others not to patronize the business. However, their call for a boycott may prove moot. According to members of the local beer industry, word has it that VanArdsdale will not reopen, and if he does, at least three wholesalers plan to stop selling to him. Further, there are reports that this reporter is attempting to confirm that the business was vandalized Tuesday night, with stones thrown through a window and graffiti painted on the exterior walls.

An employee of a West Michigan brewery who does not want to be identified says he cut off contact with VanArsdale after witnessing what he calls “multiple exhibitions of casual racism” on his Facebook page. He and VanArsdale severed ties after what the brewery worker said were blatantly sexist statements online about the January pro-women’s march.

I decided to give him three strikes before unfollowing him on Facebook and he cleared them in less than a month ,” he says. “Most of the posts I saw were about African-Americans and people of Mexican heritage. He tried to pass most of them off as jokes but he’s actually being serious. This behavior was encouraged by Amy and a group of his Facebook friends.”

Three former friends of VanArsdale and his live-in girlfriend, Amy Waugaman, who interned at Kalamazoo’s Boatyard Brewing and is smiling in a picture in which her boyfriend is giving the Nazi salute, say the Iraq war veteran is “unhinged,” has known rage issues and admits to struggling with PTSD. They don’t want to identify themselves because as one says, “I don’t know anyone who’s not afraid of him.”

Another wrote in an email that the couple make her uncomfortable because they’re easily angered, dwell in the negative and don’t mind publicly shaming store employees.

“From the opening of their business, I started hearing (and witnessed once) Aaron treating bar employees poorly.  Chastising them in front of customers with demeaning comments, etc.  Amy publicly complained about one of the employees on FB also, calling him lazy and ‘from and entitled generation,’” she writes.

Facebook pages belonging to VanArsdale, Waugaman and the business have either been hidden, blocked or taken down, and at the time of the publication of this article, no one had responded to a tweet and a voice mail left at the bar’s phone number. Forty-five minutes after the bar’s scheduled opening, its website listed it as still closed.

Larry Bell, who’s headquartered his Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo for more than 30 years, says several of his employees have asked management to stop selling beer to Craft Draft. According to a newspaper article published before the store opened, VanArsdale planned to dedicate six permanent draught lines to Bell’s beers, more than any other brewery. Bell says by law, his distributors must sell beer to any account in good standing that orders it but adds that his daughter, company CEO Laura Bell, sent a memo to reassure employees Wednesday morning.

A Nazi Sympathizer Outs Himself And Michigan’s Craft Beer Community Tries To Close Down His Bar – Forbes


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Kalamazoo, MI, August 15, 2017 — Anti-Semitic pictures posted on the Facebook account of Aaron VanArdsdale, co-owner of Michigan’s Craft Draft 2 Go craft beer bar.

A craft beer taproom and store in Kalamazoo, Mich., may be forced to close after a surge of anger over posts on the Facebook page of a co-owner of the business that appear to support Nazism. With the violence sparked by a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend as a backdrop, members of the Michigan beer community are urging a boycott of the 10-month-old Craft Draft 2 Go after fellow Facebook users Tuesday flagged anti-Jewish statements on Aaron VanArdsdale’s Facebook page and pictures of him giving the Nazi salute and posing with a potentially Photoshopped swastika on his head.

Outraged customers and observers took to Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to decry the pictures and posts and to urge others not to patronize the business. However, their call for a boycott may prove moot. According to members of the local beer industry, word has it that VanArdsdale will not reopen, and if he does, at least three wholesalers plan to stop selling to him. Further, there are reports that this reporter is attempting to confirm that the business was vandalized Tuesday night, with stones thrown through a window and graffiti painted on the exterior walls.

An employee of a West Michigan brewery who does not want to be identified says he cut off contact with VanArsdale after witnessing what he calls “multiple exhibitions of casual racism” on his Facebook page. He and VanArsdale severed ties after what the brewery worker said were blatantly sexist statements online about the January pro-women’s march.

I decided to give him three strikes before unfollowing him on Facebook and he cleared them in less than a month ,” he says. “Most of the posts I saw were about African-Americans and people of Mexican heritage. He tried to pass most of them off as jokes but he’s actually being serious. This behavior was encouraged by Amy and a group of his Facebook friends.”

Three former friends of VanArsdale and his live-in girlfriend, Amy Waugaman, who interned at Kalamazoo’s Boatyard Brewing and is smiling in a picture in which her boyfriend is giving the Nazi salute, say the Iraq war veteran is “unhinged,” has known rage issues and admits to struggling with PTSD. They don’t want to identify themselves because as one says, “I don’t know anyone who’s not afraid of him.”

Another wrote in an email that the couple make her uncomfortable because they’re easily angered, dwell in the negative and don’t mind publicly shaming store employees.

“From the opening of their business, I started hearing (and witnessed once) Aaron treating bar employees poorly.  Chastising them in front of customers with demeaning comments, etc.  Amy publicly complained about one of the employees on FB also, calling him lazy and ‘from and entitled generation,’” she writes.

Facebook pages belonging to VanArsdale, Waugaman and the business have either been hidden, blocked or taken down, and at the time of the publication of this article, no one had responded to a tweet and a voice mail left at the bar’s phone number. Forty-five minutes after the bar’s scheduled opening, its website listed it as still closed.

Larry Bell, who’s headquartered his Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo for more than 30 years, says several of his employees have asked management to stop selling beer to Craft Draft. According to a newspaper article published before the store opened, VanArsdale planned to dedicate six permanent draught lines to Bell’s beers, more than any other brewery. Bell says by law, his distributors must sell beer to any account in good standing that orders it but adds that his daughter, company CEO Laura Bell, sent a memo to reassure employees Wednesday morning.

America’s craft breweries are on an environmental crusade – Popular Science

This craft beer crew makes the freshest beer at Guantanamo – The Denver Post

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — It’s a Sunday morning outside the gates of the war-on-terror Detention Center Zone and, while many on base are bound for the beach or church, five guys are brewing an Oktoberfest beer in Stephen Prestesater’s garage.

“We all as a team come together and brew,” says Prestesater, who discovered the hobby in San Diego before arriving at the base on a Pentagon contract about five years ago.

Today’s team includes an Army sergeant, three Coast Guard petty officers and Prestesater, who’s declared his garage the Nob Hill Brewery, for the name of the neighborhood of long-term families not far from the rotting remains of Camp X-Ray. It is also ground zero for Guantanamo’s Homebrewers Association.

The brewing club is one of the base’s best-kept secrets. Their beers are not for sale, although people can get a taste in the neighborhood’s Oktoberfest.

David Smith, a National Guardsman who’s donned a kilt and combat boots for the fun, laments that he didn’t learn about it sooner. He’s brewed a German-style Rauch lager here and is looking forward to carrying on the hobby back home in Arkansas after his 2017 tour of duty ends.

“I had no idea something like this would even exist here, where a community of brewers would come together and just enjoy the love of the craft of brewing beer. I had no idea. I wish I found this place about six months ago,” he says.

On this morning, club members reach into a cool closet crammed with beer-making, fishing and diving supplies to pull out grains flown in from the States. They’re making a Brew Father Oktoberfest, described as a Marzen, whose recipe they consult periodically. They’re doing it as a tribute to the group founder, Robert Schaffeld, who moved in five years ago with what Prestesater called “the Lamborghini of brewing systems,” and set it up to the keen interest of the neighborhood.

He and his Sabco Brew Magic brewing system have moved on to Guam, where he’s still brewing, this time as a military spouse. But his brew-making tradition lives on in Prestesater’s garage, whose centerpiece is four-spout chiller dispensing what Smith calls “a labor of love.” For craft beer aficionados, the home brews ranged from two cloudy wheat beers, one made with a mush of locally picked prickly pear and mango, and two super-dark beers, including a Guinness-like stout.

“This is the freshest beer in Gitmo,” declares Benjamin Manning, who’s been here with the Coast Guard since February.

When he’s a civilian, another club Coastie, Mike Porvaznik, is an assistant brewer at the Little City Brewing Co. in Raleigh, N.C. “The rule of home brewing is to drink a home brew while you’re brewing a new beer,” Porvaznik says. “It’s all testing, responsible testing.”

And it’s not for men only. Prestesater says women have come to brew beer, too, including his wife, with whom he brewed a beer in honor of their child. They called it the “C.J. Triple,” and it’s long gone. But they’ve kept the recipe for brewing later, perhaps two decades from now when C.J. can legally drink.

About a third of the 5,000 to 6,000 people who live on the 45-square-mile base turn over each year. They range from soldiers to sailors and their families to Jamaican and Filipino guest workers as well as Pentagon contractors, like Prestesater. By his estimation, perhaps 60 members have gone through the club, ranging from “people who just want to learn” to about 15 active brewers.

A conversation with Prestesater about beer brewing turns into a lesson in the logistics of “doing anything on Gitmo,” which has no links to the Cuban economy across the minefield, meaning everything arrives by barge or airplane at the base in southeast Cuba whose unofficial motto is, “It’s on the barge.”

“Shipping is usually your biggest problem. For buying grain, you have to think a month in advance,” he says. And even that sometimes goes wrong. Recently a bag of grain expected to arrive in a month took two months to get here, meaning “a beer that was supposed to be brewed a month ago and sit all summer long is delayed because of shipping.”

Occasionally Prestesater finds someone to bring a bag of grain in checked luggage. But mostly his supplies arrive on a plane carrying U.S. mail to base residents, no real bargain.

“Everything’s gonna go up in costs because it’s gotta be shipped down here,” he says. “If you’re buying a 20-pound bag of grain at, say, $30, it’s really actually costing you $60.”

Then why do people do it? “It’s something to be able to get outside and do something different,” he replies. Besides, “a lot of guys have a real love of craft beer.”

Gold Was Chemically Destined To Be Money All Along – Forbes

I think most of you reading this right now are aware that gold is unlike any other metal, certainly any other element. It doesn’t play by the same rules as iron or tin or aluminum, and its value has nothing to do with its utility—or lack thereof. People valued the yellow metal for its beauty and malleability eons before they knew of its usefulness in conducting electricity or its chemical inertness.

U.S. Global Investors

That gold is so chemically “boring,” though, is one of the main reasons why it’s so highly valued, even today.

This is the conclusion of Andrea Sella, distinguished professor of chemistry at University College London. In 2013, Sella spoke with Justin Rowlatt of the BBC World Service, walking him through all 118 elements of the periodic table.

Gold, according to Sella, is the best possible candidate for a currency of any value.

As he points out, we can automatically eliminate whole swaths of the periodic table for various reasons. We can cross out gases, halogens and liquids such as helium, fluorine and mercury. No one wants to carry around vials of a colorless gas or, in the case of mercury and bromine, a poisonous substance.

We can then rule out alkaline earth metals such as magnesium and barium for being too reactive and explosive. Carcinogenic, radioactive elements such as uranium and plutonium are too impractical, as are synthetic elements that exist only momentarily in lab experiments—seaborgium and einsteinium, for example.

That leaves us with the 49 transition and post-transition metals: titanium, nickel, tin, lead, aluminum and more.

But many of these pose problems that should immediately exclude them from consideration as a currency. Most are too hard to smelt (titanium), too flimsy for coinage (aluminum), too corrosive (copper) and/or too plentiful (iron).

We are now left with just eight candidates, the noble metals: platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, ruthenium, silver and gold. These are all attractive as currencies, but except for silver and gold, they’re simply too rare.

So: silver and gold.

What gives gold the edge over silver, however, is—once again—its chemical inertness. Unlike its white cousin, gold doesn’t tarnish. It’s nonreactive to air and water. Add to this its softness, and it easily emerges as the perfect currency. Ancient peoples recognized this, and I don’t think anyone now would have any problem coming to the same conclusion either.

iStockphoto.com, U.S. Global Investors

“I view gold as the primary global currency.”

Those are the words of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking to the World Gold Council for the 2017 winter edition of its Gold Investor publication.

“It is the only currency, along with silver, that does not require a counterparty signature. Gold, however, has always been far more valuable per ounce than silver. No one refuses gold as payment to discharge an obligation. Credit instruments and fiat currency depend on the credit worthiness of a counterparty. Gold, along with silver, is one of the only currencies that has an intrinsic value. It has always been that way. No one questions its value, and it has always been a valuable commodity, first coined in Asia Minor in 600 BC.”

Gold Is A Buy, But Not Yet – Seeking Alpha

Last week, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) looked like it was ready to break to the upside, beginning a new trend higher after years of decline. Negative headlines out of North Korea, and weak inflation data were not enough to derail equity markets however, keeping the equity bull market intact. This, in turn, kept gains in gold limited. In times like this, it is prudent to look at unique indicators, such as the relative strength of the S&P 500 relative to gold to determine true trend strength. While you can’t give up on gold just yet, it will need a catalyst to propel it out of its current range before it is truly worth buying.

Below is a weekly chart of GLD. Gold generally receives buying support when equity market volatility picks up, or central bank policy is perceived to be accommodative. Over the last few years, volatility has declined, leading equity markets higher, while global monetary policy has been more hawkish than the years immediately following the financial crisis.

This led to selling pressure on gold, which had previously been in one of its largest and longest bull markets in modern history [2000-2012]. Last week however, global tensions with North Korea rattled equity markets, and low inflation data led many to believe the Federal Reserve might hold off on further rate hikes in 2017. Gold rallied on this news but failed to break out to new highs from its 2017 consolidation between roughly 115 and 122 for GLD.

Equity market persistence is largely to blame for gold’s inability to trend higher. Investors continue to believe global economies are improving and that ultra-loose monetary policy is no longer the choice policy for global bankers. Moreover, the North Korea fears abated somewhat as its leaders have seemingly backed down from further action, as of now.

Since spring of 2017, SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) has been in a trend higher. The cycle of equity market strength has oscillated between different sectors over the last year, and apart from some of the tech names, there are a lot of companies with moderate valuations that stand to benefit in coming years if President Trump can pass his pro-business policies.

A way to determine equity market momentum is through the indicator S&P 500 over gold, seen below. When the indicator is moving higher, it means that equities are in favor, correlating to broad equity market strength. Two major breakouts occurred in this indicator over the last few years. The first during early 2013, and again following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

In 2017 however, broad equity market sentiment has pulled back. Aside from strength in a few of the large technology names, equity momentum has waned.

This has allowed for a resurgence of gold buying, but not enough to warrant a genuine reversal in the yellow metal. I believe gold does look attractive at these levels, a sentiment shared by Doubleline founder Jeff Gundlach.

Buying selectively however, is key. Waiting for a breakout higher, above 122 on a weekly chart, and holding above that level as of the Friday close would confirm renewed buying support. This, accompanied by selling pressure in the S&P 500, and possibly increasing Treasury bond prices could signal that gold is re- entering a trend higher after many years of weakness and underperformance.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.