The Rake Beer Project, a Muskegon, Michigan-based brewery specializing in unique sour beers and limited-run specialty brews, is launching a new beverage named for state Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Big Gretch,” a cucumber and lime flavored hard seltzer, takes its name from a meme of the Michigan governor, who has recently drawn national attention for her response to the coronavirus pandemic and often tense interactions with President Donald Trump.
The social media meme is straight out of Detroit. Alongside an image of Whitmer in Photoshopped Buffs — or Cartier buffalo horn sunglasses — the meme praises her tough approach to halting the spread of COVID-19, and later her response to protests against that approach. Detroit rapper Gmac Cash then turned the phrase into a song.
Now the Muskegon brewery has taken that same image and slapped it on a label. Whitmer is drawn sneering, wearing Buffs and a thick chain with the Michigan mitten — emblazoned with the numbers “231” (Muskegon’s area code) — around her neck.
The hard seltzer is available for purchase through the brewery’s website.
Although Whitmer has become popular in wider Democratic circles, garnering praise on Saturday Night Live for her often bitter relationship with Trump, she has also become a symbol for some of governmental overreach in the time of coronavirus.
Angry protesters have gathered outside of the state capitol and the governor’s residence in Lansing in response to Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders.
She is also the target of a lawsuit by state Republican lawmakers, who claim her most recent extension of the state’s stay-at-home order is a violation of her executive authority. Whitmer’s office has challenged the lawsuit, calling it a “power grab.”
As of Thursday, May 14th, there were nearly 48,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, and 4,714 people have died.