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Threes Brewing CEO Is Out After Comparing NYC’s Vaccine Mandate to Jim Crow and Nazi Regime

The brewery’s CEO and co-founder Josh Stylman is no longer leading the company, effective immediately

The interior of Threes Brewing, a bar and taproom located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Threes Brewing in Gowanus.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Threes Brewing CEO and co-founder Josh Stylman is stepping down from the company after the popular Brooklyn brewery came under fire over controversial comments that Stylman made about COVID-19 and NYC’s vaccine mandate in mid-February.

“Josh Stylman has made the decision to step down from his position as CEO, effective immediately,” Threes Brewing said in a statement posted on its social media platforms on March 1. “He believes that his fiduciary responsibilities as CEO of Threes Brewing are in conflict with his duties as a parent and a citizen and is choosing to be able to speak his mind without concern that the team at Threes will be held responsible for his personal views.”

Threes Brewing chief operating officer Jared Cohen will be replacing Stylman as CEO, according to the company.

Two weeks ago, Stylman posted messages to Twitter calling NYC’s vaccine mandate a “crime against humanity,” and comparing the public health regulation to Jim Crow laws and the Nazi regime in Germany.

Public outcry was swift in response to the incendiary messages. Twitter users rebuked Stylman’s stance on the mandate, while a local Brooklyn politician promised to take his business elsewhere. Stylman told Eater at the time that multiple wholesale clients contacted the brewery with concerns after hearing about the messages. Threes posted a statement on social media on February 17 stating that the company did not stand by Stylman’s remarks, calling the comparisons to egregious historical acts “inappropriate and inaccurate.”

As he exits, Stylman will also divest his equity from the brewery, although the timeline for divestment has not yet been finalized, according to a representative for the company. In the meantime, Cohen will be in charge of Stylman’s shareholder rights at the company.

On March 1, Stylman posted a message on Substack saying that it was his decision to step down from Threes in order to maintain his views without repercussions falling back on Threes and the brewery’s staff. The nearly decade old brewery runs a popular taproom in Gowanus, plus outposts in Greenpoint, Governor’s Island, and Huntington, New York. The beer is also stocked in many restaurants and bars throughout the city.

“Whether you agree with the views I have shared or not, please know that by continuing to support Threes, you are backing 80 people who have worked their asses off as essential employees through a global pandemic,” Stylman wrote.

Former mayor Bill de Blasio first implemented a vaccine mandate in NYC for indoor dining last August as a public health safety measure during the pandemic and a way to boost vaccination rates in the city. Current mayor Eric Adams announced this week that the mandate will likely be eliminated on March 7, as long as COVID-19 case counts remain low. On February 26, NYC reported 319 confirmed and probable new cases of COVID-19, according to city data, marking a roughly 50 percent drop in case counts from mid-February. As of March 2, 87 percent of adult residents in NYC have been fully vaccinated.