Four Day Ray Brewing Faces Libs Of Tik Tok Controversy

The popular Fishers taproom was the site of a political event that hosted the tendentious social media star. Co-owner Brian Graham says he didn’t see it coming.
can and glass of beer
Some brews from Four Day Ray. Credit: Tony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

“I’m 51,” Four Day Ray Brewing co-owner Brian Graham told me Wednesday. “I’m not on social media.” That’s why he was taken by surprise when an April 1 campaign event for U.S. Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) at his Indianapolis-area taproom and restaurant spurred frustrated phone calls and social media pushback.

Banks, an outspoken conservative who refused to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election and joined a lawsuit that sought to overturn it, rented the taproom’s upstairs mezzanine for a breakfast event attended by “about 40 people,” Graham says.

But when Banks’ Senate campaign (he’s now seeking Mike Braun’s former seat) announced the event via its Facebook page, they said that he’d be joined by a lightning rod for controversy: Chaya Raichik, who is perhaps better known by her screen name, Libs of TikTok.

Raichik’s influential set of social media accounts promotes false information and conspiracy theories as well as far-right causes including opposition to transgender and LGBTQ+ folks. Her public remarks and social media activity have prompted the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that monitors the activities of hate groups, to add her to its list of dangerous extremists for her alleged efforts to mobilize “right-wing extremist groups in violent attacks against LGBTQ+ people, spaces and events, as well as against doctors, hospitals, librarians, libraries, teachers and schools.”

But despite Raichik’s prominence in the news, Graham says that he’d never heard of her. “I don’t even know how to pronounce her name,” he says. That changed when the business’ most recent Instagram post noting its Easter closure started getting comments about the unrelated-to-the-post event. The company’s Fishers location, which Indianapolis Monthly named its best new brewery in 2017, started getting angry calls, too. “People were cussing at our voicemail and stuff like that,” Graham says.

According to Graham, the Banks campaign booked the venue “just like anybody else wanting to rent our space.” “We don’t screen our guests when they book,” he says, noting that reservations for the brewery’s space typically happen a few organizational rungs away from his position. “Some people could say, ‘it’s your responsibility as a business owner.’ No,  I’m not on these channels. I’m not policing every person that comes in here.”

The disappointed response from community members “is definitely freaky for sure,” Graham says, emphasizing that his business isn’t endorsing any of the messages presented by Banks or Raichik. “If we were sponsoring it, and promoting it on our Facebook page, and all that kind of stuff, that would be a different story than what we’re talking about right now,” he says.

Indirectly citing Raichik’s platform of opposition against LGBTQ+ people, Graham says that “We give very generously to the community. We have individuals that work with us that are in the LGBTQ community. I have personal family members that are in that community.”

“Just because someone dines in my restaurant doesn’t mean that I’m a supporter,” Graham says. “What [Banks and Raichik] were expressing just couldn’t be further from the truth of, like, who we are as people.”