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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Brazilian Trio Turns Beer into Vehicle for Politics

RIO DE JANEIRO – In these tumultuous times of political uncertainty in Brazil, teacher Diogo Cavalheiro and two like-minded partners chose to assert their leftist political ideals and take part in the social struggle through a much appreciated commodity in their country: beer.

Their company is, as Cavalheiro told EFE in an interview, a “nano-brewery” that produces craft beers with politically partisan names like “Lula Livre” (Free Lula) and “Fora Temer” (Temer Out), allusions to the jailed former president and the outgoing incumbent, respectively, and “Black Bloc” as a salute to militant anarchists.

Six months ago, soon after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was incarcerated, the trio began producing two varieties of Lula Livre that became slogan-bearers for the social movement in Brazil demanding freedom for the country’s most popular politician, sentenced to 12 years behind bars for corruption.

The first political beer of Rock n’Brau, as the business is called, was the pale lager Fora Temer, whose bottling began two years ago to cheer on the movement seeking to rid the government of Michel Temer, the conservative vice president who became head of state in 2016 after Congress ousted Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s successor and protegee.

Leftist Brazilians consider Lula a political prisoner and Rousseff the victim of a legislative coup.

“We’re now going to brew an anti-fascist brand,” Cavalheiro said about a new label they seek to identify with the wave of opposition to the future government of far-right Jair Bolsonaro, set to take office on Jan. 1.

“All three of us have ties to social movements and we’re determined to show that position not only in our individual actions but by pushing our political position publicly,” Cavalheiro said.

The beer brewer also noted the search for quality in their production, which amounts to around 50 liters (106 pints) a week and contains no artificial preservatives.

The politicized suds can at present only be found in certain Rio de Janeiro bars, where “their acceptance has been very positive.”

One of the bars where customers can enjoy a Lula Livre is Raizes do Brasil, located in the bohemian Santa Teresa district.

Bruno Gustavo Geraldo, who runs the establishment, said he likes “to work with craft beers and strengthen ties with small local brewers,” while “making our customers aware” about “our goal of social change.”

“These beers are very much in demand for their political branding, as well as for their quality. The labels attract customers who tend to identify with the politics these brews publicize,” said Geraldo, who was wearing a T-shirt of the Small Farmers Movement.

 

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