Does Manhattan Project Beer Co. glorify the United States’ tragic history of nuclear testing on unsuspecting islanders?
The government of the Marshall Islands says it does.
The West Dallas-based brewery’s Bikini Atoll gose is under fire from the island-chain nation, which released a statement denouncing the brand.
It states in part:
There’s a great deal of outrage in the Marshall Islands about the Manhattan Project Beer Company’s creation and release of Bikini Atoll beer. The anger of the Marshallese people is understandable. This is just anther example of an American entity profiting from the appropriation of names and places that do not belong to them. Bikini is not a beer, a bathing suit, or the home of Spongebob Sqaurepants.It is the ancestral homelands of the Bikinian people who cannot reside there today because of lingering radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons tests conducted on the islands during the Cold War.
The United States military conducted 23 nuclear tests on the Bikini and Enewetak atolls in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958. One of them, 1,000 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was the largest hydrogen bomb ever tested by the United States. Marshall Islanders received horrific burns from the blasts at the time, and the testing has had lasting effects such as birth defects, cancer and diaspora among its population. Nearby atolls were found to have higher levels of radiation than Chernobyl, in a report released just last month.
The brewery’s response to the complaint was less than sensitive.
Our beer named Bikini Atoll was not created to mock or trivialize the nuclear testing that took place in the Marshall Islands. Through our brand and naming, we are creating awareness of the wider impacts and implications of the United State’s nuclear research programs and the pivotal movement in world history that is often forgotten. We will take no further action on this matter.
The Dallas Observer, which broke this story locally, points out that none of their beer’s packaging, nor its website, mentions the history of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.
The international publication Vice points out that marketing for Bikini Atoll gose states it was inspired by “summers at the pool.”
The brewery’s owners say they’ve received death threats over the brand.