Bruce Emmerling via Wikimedia Commons

Armed Forces Brewing Company’s bid to establish a military-themed brewery in Norfolk, Virginia has encountered strong opposition from the local community.

The resistance is fueled by concerns regarding the company’s conservative branding, which satirizes progressive culture, its association with controversial figures such as Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL, and accusations of glorifying violence and making divisive statements.

The Virginia Mercury has more:

“The chief executive of the fledgling Armed Forces Brewing Company, was scouting locations in Florida to buy a brewery in January when he got a call from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. …

… Virginia already had more than 340 breweries, but Youngkin wanted at least one more. So the state came a-courting. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership created Project Seawolf, offering for sale Norfolk’s O’Connor Brewing and more than $300,000 in tax incentives, details first reported by Dave Infante in his Fingers newsletter about drinking.

Armed Forces sealed the deal in July, taking control of a trailblazing brewery that had helped transform what was once a depressed, largely industrial neighborhood into a hip, bustling enclave of businesses, restaurants and apartments known as the Railroad District. City Council members, who are typically consulted on big business moves happening in their backyard, learned about the sale when Youngkin’s office issued a press release. …

… Hundreds posted their opposition on social media. More than 800 filed objections to the brewery’s application for a required conditional use permit. In a surprise vote last month, Planning Commission members recommended denial, contradicting a staff recommendation.

The brewery’s fate now hangs in the balance as the Norfolk City Council prepares to vote on the application on December 12, with the company issuing a threat of legal action if the permit is denied. This controversy sheds light on broader issues concerning free speech, the alignment of businesses with politically charged perspectives, and the clash of values within the community.