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Florida Brewer Uses Free Beer to Put a Damper on Richard Spencer’s University of Florida Speech

Burgeoning Craft Beer Industry Creates Niche Market For Limited Release BeersBurgeoning Craft Beer Industry Creates Niche Market For Limited Release Beers
Happy hour without the hangover.Photograph by Justin Sullivan Getty Images

At 2:30 p.m,. white nationalist Richard Spencer will take to the stage at the University of Florida’s Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. But a local brewer is offering free beer to people who skip the talk.

Alligator Brewing says it will give a free draft beer for every two reserved seating tickets to the event people bring in, with the goal of creating vast empty swaths of seats in the arena.

“We unfortunately can’t stop him from bringing his hate to Gainesville,” Alligator explained in an Instagram post, “but we can empty the room so his disgusting message goes unheard. … This is our town. This is our community. And this is how we’re going to shut. him. down.”

All totaled there are 800 tickets available to Spencer’s controversial speech. And the alt-right leader told the Miami Herald he plans to combat the campaign by having ‘volunteers’ hand out tickets, instead of having the university distribute them, as was originally planned.

Spencer’s supporters are apparently not too happy with the offer, either. The brewer says one event organizer entered the brewery on Wednesday and caused a commotion while livestreaming video to his followers.

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Please stay safe #lesshatemorebeer

A post shared by Alligator Brewing (@alligatorbrewing) on Oct 18, 2017 at 3:34pm PDT

University of Florida president W. Kent Fuchs has asked students to stay clear of Spencer’s talk. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in the county, saying the “threat of a potential emergency is imminent.”

Spencer was a participant in the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. in August, which led to PayPal cutting ties with him, among other businesses that distanced themselves from his National Policy Institute. While the University of Florida initially blocked Spencer from speaking, as a state institution, the University is not able to limit free speech. including hate speech.