The Brewmaster’s Taproom in Renton has made its name as an inclusive, family- and dog-friendly place, where people can enjoy a fine rotation of craft beer, delicious bakery goods and fun entertainment that includes a monthly story time and bingo event hosted by local drag queens.
However, within hours of the taproom’s Drag Queen Story Time on Aug. 12, a bomb threat was made by unknown persons to the establishment at 2000 Benson Road S., and to the owner’s personal residence, causing the building to be closed for several hours and for the events to be postponed.
The bomb threats were sent to Brewmaster’s owner Marley Rall via email and included an extreme homophobic rant against the story time event as well as death threats toward several named individuals and the Renton Police Department. The email also claimed that the surrounding area needed to be evacuated because there were “enough fertilizer bombs there to make the Oklahoma City bombings look like a firecracker.”
No bombs were found after Port of Seattle bomb-sniffing dogs and a bomb technician were dispatched, and the taproom was able to re-open for business, according to Renton Police.
“It makes me sad that there is an active campaign against drag entertainers hosting story time events,” said drag queen Kara Sutra, who was supposed to host the Aug. 12 events. “I have to assume the people calling in the bomb threats have never been to an event and have a warped image of what ‘goes on’ at drag queen story hour.”
The threats were sent at 2:03 p.m. Saturday, but according to owner Rall, she had not seen the email and was not aware of the threats until over an hour later, when officers from the Renton Police Department showed up at her home.
“It took a bit to process what he was saying,” Rall told the Reporter. Brewmaster’s Drag Queen Story Time is no stranger to harassment — there was a call to protest the event in December 2022, which was ultimately canceled after a still-unidentified suspect shot a projectile into the window of the taproom. Rall said this was the first time somebody went out of their way to find her home address.
“To be honest, it’s weird because it’s been quiet the last few months in terms of threats and phone calls and then someone just knocks it out of the park,” Rall said.
The threatening email had also been sent to a person that works in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who reached out to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which led to the Renton Police Department and Port of Seattle to be contacted, Rall said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Brewmaster’s has hosted a monthly Drag Queen Story Time since the summer of 2020 with Seattle-based drag queen Sylvia O’Stayformore and, more recently, Kara Sutra, who is based in Tacoma. Kara has been doing reading events in drag since 2018, and recently read books to children at the Renton Sip N’ Strut Pride event, but she said this was the first event where she had an issue like this.
“I was shocked and disappointed to receive the news,” said Kara, who was on her way to the venue when she learned that the event had to be canceled. “If I’ve learned anything from queer history, it’s that we are resilient.”
Rall and Kara have confirmed that a make-up story time and bingo event will now take place at the Brewmaster’s Taproom on Saturday, Aug. 26.
“I have hope that these people (who get angry enough to call in fake bomb threats) are the minority. I have seen the LGBTQ+ community come together countless times to provide safety in numbers when people try to harass and bully us. We are strong together,” said Kara in an Instagram message. “The original Pride was a riot — the Stonewall Riots were a direct result from harassment of trans and gender non-conforming people, who wanted to be able to live freely. This instance reminds me that we have to keep fighting throughout the hate and threats. We will continue to do our thing and spread the love and joy to the community. We will continue to host story hours and bring people together — we have no reason to live in fear when we have so much love to give.”