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Metro Atlanta brewery introduces code word to help people in danger. This month, someone used it

A bartender was able to escort a man off of their premises after a woman used their secret codeword in a sentence. He says she looked uncomfortable, too.

ACWORTH, Ga. — At Red Top Brewhouse in Acworth, bartenders like Jacob Crossan have been trained to do more than just pour a pint. They also help diffuse situations where people might feel "in danger".

All it takes is a simple codeword found inside the women's restroom.

"There was a gentleman that was being inappropriate towards a couple of middle-aged women who were sitting at the bar with me. I could tell from the time he sat down the attention was unwanted," Crossan said of an incident that took place the weekend of April 10.

He said one of the women then went inside the restroom, where she saw the codeword written on the door with instructions on how to use it, brought it up in a sentence to Crossan.

Credit: Provided
Note for the ladies at Red Top

"She was able to use that codeword with me and I was able to immediately come out from behind the bar and remove the gentleman from the premises," he said.

This is the first time the word has been used since the opening of the brewhouse in August 2020. President Jonathan White and CEO Rob Hankinson said having a system like this in place was very important for them.

"We want to be the 'cheers' of this area," said Hankinson. "Where everybody, the whole community, can come in on an equal basis and have a good, safe time."

Credit: Provided

So for two years before Red Top's opening, White says they spent a lot of time touring different businesses.

"We did a lot of research by going to most of the breweries in Georgia and you could tell 80% of the people in the taproom were male," said White. "So from the tile we picked out in the women's restroom, we have tailored our entire business to making women comfortable."

To make things more comfortable for people of all genders, they said they are working on adding a different word in their gender-neutral restroom and the men's restroom.

"We have two levels of the word so one is escort out of the building and the other one is 'I have to be safe now, please call the police,'" said White.

The brewhouse posted about that incident on its Facebook page, writing that under zero circumstances will that be allowed. The staff said it has since gained a reaction from people all the way in South Africa and Canada.

As of Monday, the post has received more than 2,000 reactions, 760 shares, and almost 400 comments. 

Credit: Facebook

The brewpub, which also has food, wine, and spirits, added that some businesses have said they will start using codewords, too.

"We were just beaming with joy with the fact that so many people could connect with us like that," said White. "It's so friendly for them to say that they're going to come visit us when they're coming through but the most meaningful thing for all of us was how many businesses reached out to us from all across the states and even out of the country."

The brewhouse is also partnering with mental health awareness non-profit Hope For The Day and making a collaboration beer called 'Things We Don't Say' to raise awareness.

"The stigma around mental health, especially around male-dominated industries - men aren't as open about the discussion because they don't want to be perceived as weak, so we're partnering with Hope For The Day," said marketing director Chris Henderson.

They will be adding phone numbers in restrooms for anyone who might need help with mental health. In addition, staff from the brewery - which has a self-pour wall - has been trained to check in with their customers after every 32 ounces consumed.

"[We do that] to make sure they're safe," said White. "If we need to get them an Uber or some of our pretzels we will."

While they opened up their doors in the pandemic and business had been slow, things started to pick up after January. 

"We've doubled our outside seating as recently as last week and this last weekend we were full," said Hankinson. "We're totally blessed. We're operating on the right side of the curb."

"We've been overly blessed with people willing to visit us during a time when everybody feels uncomfortable," White said.