domestic violence beer sign minibar austin
Domestic violence is no laughing matter, but one bar employee apparently didn’t get the memo. A sign recently posted outside of Minibar in Austin, Texas read:

I like my beer like I like my violence: domestic.

On a Heineken import chalkboard, no less.

An Austin Women’s Shelter volunteer photographed the domestic violence beer sign and shared it on Facebook and Instagram, where the post attracted national attention.

The owner of Minibar, Alex Elmiger, was at the Austin City Limits music festival during the incident, but he received several phone calls about the sign and acted quickly to take it down. The offending employee was fired. Additionally, Minibar will use the opportunity to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, donating a dollar from every domestic beer sold.

“To be honest with you I wasn’t aware of it. I was enjoying the ACL festival and the next morning I received a bunch of phone calls about it,” Elmiger said. “As soon as I found out I decided to take the sign down immediately obviously.”

“I decided to donate a dollar from every beer that I sell, every domestic beer that I sell, hopefully trying to spur to have more people have awareness of the fact it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month to put a positive spin behind it,” he said.

Will this response be enough? Only time will tell. But with swift action and a genuine apology, it looks like Minibar is on the right track to recovering their positive reputation.

Though Elmiger’s response to the crisis was a good one, the entire incident could have been prevented with sensitivity training. Minibar could certainly benefit from taking the time to make sure that employees carefully reflect the company’s values and avoid offending potential customers. They could also learn from the mistakes of others, considering this isn’t even the first time it’s happened.

This isn’t the first domestic violence beer sign

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The entire situation is disappointing, but perhaps the biggest disappointment is that this isn’t even the first time it’s happened. Roots Bistro in Houston, just a few hours away from Minibar, had a very similar incident back in April. Their sign read:

Beer Should be Like Violence: Domestic

Apparently, they got the idea from another business with the same poor taste.

“We’ll go on the Internet and look at other businesses and what they post on their signs. Another business had posted it,” said Roots manager Kenneth.

Thanks to predictable Internet outrage and a patron that pointed out how offensive the comment was, the sign was only up for 10 minutes. But Roots’ poor response lives on even to this day.

equal rights sign roots bistro houston

They replaced the domestic violence sign with a defensive one, reading:

Seriously Focus Your Energy on Equal Rights

roots bistro apology sign

Hardly an effective apology from Roots, but one did eventually come:

Sorry a Million Times Over Houston

This grudgingly offered apology did not go over well, and the damage was done. Roots’ original domestic violence beer sign made its way to the likes of Salon, Jezebel, and MSN, forever tarnishing the restaurant’s reputation.

Just two months following the incident, Roots Bistro closed its doors as investors pulled out. Let’s hope that Minibar’s apologetic response helps them fare better than Roots did.

Photo of Joseph Torrillo
About the Author

Born and proudly raised in Syracuse, NY, Joseph joined the team in 2008 as the Director of Reputation Management after earning his B.S. in Public Policy. He is now the Vice President of the department.

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