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Josh Stylman: Why I Decided to Leave the Brooklyn Brewery I Co-Founded

Why I Decided to Leave the Brooklyn Brewery I Co-Founded 


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind due to comments I made on my personal Twitter account. The New York Times then published a “news” article on my case – an extremely inaccurate story that left out most of my explanation of my comments. That article inspired a mob to call for my head. I’ve since decided to leave the Brooklyn brewery I co-founded. 

Due to the reaction, I feel it’s important to share my thoughts.

I just want to say how much I appreciate hearing from my friends, family, and strangers who have come out both publicly and privately supporting my right to speak my mind. I can’t thank you enough.

As to the specific tweets comparing vaccine mandates to historical atrocities, I stand by my comments: if we are silent about these unjustifiable and discriminatory mandates (and the consequences people are facing because of them), we are capitulating to fear, and abandoning the dream of an inclusive, just society.  We are forgetting what it means to be human.

I am a descendant of Holocaust victims and survivors. My great uncle, Yehuda, my namesake, was murdered in a concentration camp in the early 1940s. My grandmother was the sole survivor of her hometown of Bendzin, Poland.

My whole life I’ve heard the phrase “Never again.” What purpose does studying history serve if we wall off every tragic event as an incomparable, shrine of exclusive suffering? This is not a competition, it is a never-ending journey towards understanding. The Holocaust did not start with gas chambers and I specifically stated that I was not comparing genocide with the present day. Rather I was comparing the mentality and mindset that scapegoats and demonizes a group of people.

Anyone who worked at Threes Brewing in March 2020, knows how seriously I took the health and safety of our entire staff and community. Two years later though, many people, including myself, are now deeply and genuinely appalled about the ongoing encroachment of our civil liberties. While it has had minimal mainstream media coverage, there have been worldwide protests for months with people saying no to the mandates.

To be clear, I chose to get vaccinated. More recently, I took my mother to get her booster to protect her against Covid. Still, those were choices we made for our health. Deciding what one puts in their own body is a basic human right.

What has perhaps been one of the most disturbing aspects of all of this is that we are in a place in society where anyone who says something that may offend people is canceled. Trying to silence is not the way forward. 

It is a dangerous world where we cannot say what we believe is right out of fear of losing everything we worked so hard to build. Applying freedom of speech only to discourse that goes along with a specific narrative keeps us from growing and changing our minds, and our society becomes all the poorer for it.

Articles were published about me that were clearly written before I even gave my perspective. People read the clickbait and jumped to conclusions without even taking the time to read the nuance or understand the historical context of the original thread that set this whole shitstorm off. 

What I am saying is I am against discrimination, and these mandates discriminate by creating a two-tiered society based on arbitrary biomedical status. You can disagree with my comparison, my language, or even my views without trying to destroy my livelihood and a small business that impacts the lives of so many others.

So what happens next?

Threes Brewing is only as strong as our partnerships, collaborators, and staff.

To our business partners: I’ve enjoyed working with all of you, and many of our relationships go back years. We’ve done some great things together and I am confident that you have seen that I am a man of honor and integrity. While I take full responsibility for my words, if you are thinking of leaving and terminating your collaboration with Threes it is true that may put our business in jeopardy. I hope and trust that you will stay on board. Ultimately, I know you will do what you think is right.

To our staff: No one understands more than I do how important you are in making Threes what it is today. You have to follow your own hearts and judgment in regards to your future at the company, but I implore you to be open to the possibility that my passion for this issue goes beyond just the success of our business. I must stand behind the values that we as a company have always prided ourselves on – inclusion of all. 

I’ve spent almost a decade of my life working to build Threes Brewing with blood, sweat, and tears alongside a team that is world-class. The last two years have been particularly grueling as we overcame a once-in-a-lifetime event, but we made it to the other side and saved the jobs of every single person on our team, an accomplishment I will wear as a badge of honor for the rest of my life. I love this company and I hope everyone associated with it can see that I am fighting for something just.

As always, I will continue to be here with an open mind and full heart to engage in discussion and discovery with anyone who genuinely wishes the same.

Over the past few days, however, it has become increasingly evident that my fiduciary responsibilities as CEO of Threes Brewing are in conflict with my duties as a parent and citizen. As a result, I have chosen to resign from my job.

Leaving the company I’ve dedicated the past decade of my life to is not an easy decision for me, but I need to be able to speak my mind freely without fearing that my place of employment – and most importantly, the team of people who work there – will be held responsible for my personal views. We’ve seen that there are bad faith actors willing to mislead and misrepresent in order to do such harm.

Jared Cohen, formerly COO, will be taking over as CEO of the company. This change is effective immediately. Jared has been an invaluable member of the leadership team at Threes since the day he joined and I know the company will continue to be a special place in the communities it serves under his leadership.

Whether you agree with the views I have shared or not, please know that by continuing to support Threes, you are backing 80 people who have worked their asses off as essential employees through a global pandemic. 

I don’t know exactly where all of this is heading, but after watching the institutions that we count on to inform and protect us act in bad faith, I am legitimately worried. I’m also saddened and angry that the progressive, inclusive city I have called home for more than 25 years feels unrecognizable – especially NYC’s embrace of this “checkpoint society” and how taboo it is even to raise questions about this sudden and radical transformation of the way we live and protect one another. At this stage, it’s best for me to spend my time trying to make a greater impact on the world my children are growing up in.

Good luck and good health.

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