New Mexico United’s strongest fan base ends relationship with local brewery

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Curse, New Mexico United’s most dedicated fans, is cutting ties with the local brewery where they host team watch parties. It all started Monday on social media when the owner of Starr Brothers Brewery posted a message criticizing the governor over the public health order. When comments on the post started to get ugly, that’s when The Curse severed ties with the brewery.

After Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she has stopped all dine-in services at restaurants and breweries because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, the owner of Starr Brothers Brewing Company in Albuquerque lashed out on his personal Facebook page.

The post has since been deleted but a screen shot was sent to KRQE News 13 and it said:

This is an open plea to US Attorney General William Barr. We as business owners, specifically restaurant owners, are subject to a tyrannical Governor here in the State of New Mexico. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared war on the hospitality industry in New Mexico. We have no protection from this issue. There is no science to back her ludicrous decisions. We are not the problem but she continues to TARGET us. I encourage all NM restaurant owners to immediately stop paying ANYONE!! DO NOT pay your vendors, do not pay your bills, do not pay your taxes… certainly don’t pay any State of NM taxes!! Share the pain with everyone! Make a photocopy of your invoices and send them to our poor excuse of a Governor! Band together business owners!

Mr. Barr!!! We need help here!! We have a rogue Governor who’s ruining lives!!! HELP!!!!!

If you care about local business, jobs and just people in this state please share!!!! We can’t lie down and stand for this!!!

Business owner, Father, Veteran, Patriot

The post sparked fierce debate on social media with people going back and forth with Starr and his wife. That did not go over well with New Mexico United’s strongest fan base, The Curse. When United has an away game, The Curse hosts watch parties at the brewery. After seeing the posts, The Curse announced they are cutting ties with the brewery and said the following:

Since the creation of The Curse, we have enjoyed a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with Starr Brothers Brewing Co. This has included watch parties, special events, discounts for our members, and more. Starr has been the primary home of The Curse since our inception.

Recent comments made on various forms of social media by Starr Brothers accounts, and accounts related to Starr Brothers Brewing Co. leadership have led us to reconsider this relationship. These comments have added to concern among many members to the point that they are no longer comfortable attending events at Starr.

While we sympathize with the struggles that Starr Brothers Brewing Co. and many other local businesses are facing in the light of the ongoing global pandemic, and certainly respect their right to free speech, we are not comfortable encouraging our members to patronize a location at which they feel unwelcome, and we won’t move forward hosting events at a location that many members have indicated they will not attend.

In light of these developments, The Curse is formally ceasing its relationship with Starr Brothers Brewing Co. While we were not planning on having in-person watch parties or events this year anyway (due to the ongoing global pandemic), when it is safe to return to these types of events, we will seek an alternate location.

Support local and Somos Unidos, Your Curse Leadership Team.

“The post that John Starr posted I felt was not necessarily appropriate but I felt his pain,” said New Mexico United fan Jacob Terrell.

The Curse’s decision has left United fans split. “I just hope there’s some reconsideration made to this Starr decision,” said New Mexico United fan Dana Gamaleri. “I feel like maybe it was a knee jerk reaction with the political climate right now.”

“I’m very relieved they wanted to step away from that,” said another fan Jessica Music. “I mean our slogan is Somos Unidos, we need to be united.”

The Curse emphasizes it’s not about the post being political, it was just how tense the exchange got on social media. Both The Curse and Starr Brothers declined an on-camera interview.

After The Curse severed ties with the brewery, the brewery responded:

We understand that there have been many comments regarding our recent stance against the new health order. While we respect Michelle Lujan Grisham as our Governor, and her decisions, the hardship that we are experiencing is due to owning a small business that we’ve put our entire livelihood into for the sake of other families like ourselves being able to have a place to enjoy food and beer in a family environment. Since March 15, we have followed and exceeded the health order guidelines so that our customers and staff can feel safe when choosing to dine with us and/or work here. We have provided masks and extra sanitation to all our employees, and have worked hard to schedule them as much as we can so that we can help them provide for their families as well. We understand that in the heat of emotions, the post from John Starr may have been misunderstood as something other than a cry for help from a hurting small business owner. We do our best to consider our customers’ best interest and keep their feelings in mind before making any sort of public statement on social media. We appreciate those that have continued to support us during this difficult and trying time. We also understand, appreciate, and accept the feedback that we have gotten from the recent statement. We ask that everyone please be understanding and patient with us during this time. From one family to another, this is a hard time for all of us, and it’s only together that we will get through this. Finally, we apologize for any feelings that we have hurt. We love each and every one of you. Thank you and stay safe. The Starr Family.

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