Garth Brooks is coming under fire for his recent announcement that he plans to sell “every brand of beer” at his new Nashville bar.
In a Q & A session hosted by Billboard ahead of CMA Fest, Garth Brooks addressed a question about the status of his Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk currently under construction in Nashville’s South Broadway District.
“I know this sounds corny. I want it to be the Chick-fil-A of honky-tonks,” Brooks said. “I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another.”
Then he answered the unspoken question about whether his establishment will serve Bud Light amid the ongoing controversy.
“And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are. It’s not our decision to make. Our thing is this, if you [are let] into this house, love one another. If you’re an a–hole, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway.”
Several artist-owned bars in Music City, including bars owned by John Rich and Kid Rock, pulled Anheuser-Busch products after the brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
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Garth’s announcement drew immediate criticism, with some suggesting that the artist be added to the list of brands and companies being boycotted by conservatives.
In a somewhat surprising move, outspoken conservative country singer John Rich came to Garth Brooks’ defense.
John Rich spoke to Fox News on Friday (June 9) about Brooks’ statement. Rich told the outlet that fans should expect nothing less from the “Ain’t Goin’ Down” singer.
“Garth Brooks has always been the guy that that said, ‘everybody come to my show,’” Rich told Fox News Digital. “It’s something that we love about Garth. You know, he makes his music for everybody. And that really is what music is about. You’re making your music for everybody. Beer’s for everybody, too.”
“If Garth is serving Bud Light in his bar, that’s fine. Garth can do that. Garth might find out not many people are going to order it,” he said. “And at the end of the day, you have to put things in your establishment that people are going to purchase if you’re going to run a successful business. So, he might find that out.”
Rich added that Garth’s decision is likely an attempt to heal some of the division currently going on in the country.
“If I know Garth at all, and I know him a little, that’s probably the impetus behind a statement like that. So, good for him. I wish him the best,” said Rich.
An opening date for Garth’s Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk has yet to be announced.
In April, Brooks told CMT that he had a clear vision for what he wanted his 40,000-square-foot honky-tonk to be.
“It’s a classic honky-tonk,” Brooks said. “It’s what I grew up in. It’s a bar along one wall, a bar along the other wall, and the rest is just space to dance or whatever you want to do.”
Brooks shared that he wants a wide variety of country music to fill the venue, with everything from George Strait, Merle Haggard, and Luke Bryan to Dolly Parton, Ashley McBryde and Reba McEntire.
“I don’t think that’s impossible to ask,” he said. “I’m hoping this place is a thumpin’ place that always looks like something is going crazy in there. I like that. But when you walk in, I hope it’s country music that you hear.”