No we are not presenting you with a group of Californians eager to beat you up, unless of course it’s for craft beer. The Beer Thugs of LA is just one of the mainly Latino private craft beer groups that exist in Southern California. They are using their passion for great beer to find their bicultural identity and extend their personal networks.
So what do they do? Well for starters a Beer Thugs bottleshare is a social event that happens around once a month, where the rarer the beer that you bring, the more respect you gain. This tradition follows the methods of Latino lowrider car clubs and Raider fan groups that also inhabit the southland of CA: showcasing prized items and sharing them with the rest of the community.
Put simply: If you can afford to spend $50 on craft beer and share it with me and everyone else, more power to you! I will be happy for you and am down to do whatever for you.
Beer Thugs was founded by Rhino, an old Oi! skinhead with tattoos on almost every inch of his skin, including one that says, “Cheers to the arrogance.” Rhino explained to Munchies.com that he started Beer Thugs because he “had fallen out of place” from Hop Heads, a larger craft beer club. He is what many would consider an OG when it comes to craft beer scene in Los Angeles. In addition to also being a contract brewer, developing recipes for local breweries like Ohana Brewing Company and Rev Brewing, he is also a beer writer for the one of the first Latino-focused craft beer blogs in the US, Beers in Paradise.
Rhino says the group, made up mostly of old punks, potheads, and skinheads, has existed for five years and now has members in central California, the East Coast, and as far away as Tokyo. It usually takes a current member to vouch for you and bring you into the inner circle. Beer Thugs is just one of the mostly Latino private craft beer groups that exist in Southern California, with members who are looking for a place to be open about their beer snob tendencies, culturally identify with others, and when it comes down to it have a good time with friends, food, and good old craft beer.