Paula Deen hasn't handled her public relations nightmare very well. But I'm not joining the chorus dissecting her every move and motivation. Instead, I'm sharing a great example of how to respond to a crisis, and apologize and be accountable effectively.

Erik Lars Myers owned Mystery Brewing Company just up the road. Awesome guy who makes awesome beer. But there was a problem with some of the growlers (those nifty bottles) exploding. Yeah. You can imagine what a buzz kill that would be, and how potentially dangerous, too. When he learned of the issue, he immediately sent an email to subscribers, posted it on his website and shared it on social.

It's a case study in crisis communications because it:

  • Clearly and concisely explains the situation and its causes
  • Takes responsibility right up front
  • Provides a straightforward solution
  • Apologizes in an authentic and concise way, not overwrought or forced
  • Sounds like a person, not a "statement"
  • Builds trust and confidence that Erik's taking the necessary steps
  • Makes me proud to have been a Kickstarter supporter, and to buy more Mystery brew
  • (Bonus points for the awesome "hotline" email address:

Keep this letter in your files. Some day, you're going to have to write a letter about something that failed and you're going to want to use this as a model.

Update: Erik has since closed the brewery, but not because of this issue. He's still making terrific beer for another local brewer.\

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