UPDATE: Says Livingston, “I stand by our press release — both its content and timing — as the right thing to do. I really do hope that Michael finds whatever it is he is looking for; I wish him luck and I wish him well. Honestly, I would like it all to be over so that I can move on with rebuilding the company and continuing to move our brand forward into 2012.”
(Lewiston, ME) – Baxter Brewing, a first-year brewery poised to set a record for production, sent out a press release on Thursday morning, noting a key personnel change:
Michael LaCharite, Brewmaster of Baxter Brewing Co., is moving on to pursue other opportunities, according to company founder and president, Luke Livingston.
LaCharite, a Beer Advocate member, posted on the site shortly thereafter:
The very first sentence of the companies [sic] press release is a total lie. The fact is, I was fired this morning without cause.
When a local newspaper broached the subject with President, Luke Livingston, he declined to comment other than to wish LaCharite well in his future endeavors.
More importantly, the situation brings up questions around media relations when it comes to personnel moves.
Proprietor of Ebenezer’s Pub in Maine, Chris Lively, questioned why the press release was put out and posted by those of us who report industry news “out of respect for all parties involved.”
Matthew Steinberg of the new Blatant Brewery, but an industry veteran, also raised concerns around putting out a press release about the decision to part ways “within minutes of doing so.” [ed. note: I think that's figurative, not literal, though the PR went out at 9am to be completely transparent here.]
Should Baxter have sent the press release? Written it differently? Should I have posted it? Posted it only after trying to contact LaCharite to verify Baxter’s side?
A lot of fascinating questions….it’s times like these that I think I need an ombudsman!