SYDNEY, N.S. -- A controversy is brewing after a decision by two N.S. craft beer companies, along with a barbeque restaurant, to cancel a frontline worker appreciation event planned for this weekend.

While some are threatening to boycott these businesses, at least one of them is trying to clear things up.

Big Spruce Brewing in Cape Breton has been drawing a lot of criticism after taking a stand on a touchy topic.

Big Spruce, along with Tatamagouche Brewing Company and Old Road Barbeque, had been planning to host a frontline worker appreciation day this weekend.

But when the three businesses cancelled the event, some felt it was a slap in the face.

“It sounds like Big Spruce has gone on board with saying ‘the police are so bad in general, that I will not support them as a group’,” says Chris Milburn, an emergency room physician in Canso, N.S. “I think that’s toxic, and that’s horrible, and if that’s not what they’re saying, then they have to make that clear.”

“I think it was a good idea for them to stand by their values, but I do think that they missed the mark,” says Leah Noble, a Sydney resident.

Noble say it’s sparked an important discussion, but one she feels could have taken place without cancelling the event.

“I don’t think they deserve the backlash they’re getting,” says Noble. “I think people are being very fragile about it. I guess that they are hurt, but I think that people are going to a bit of an extreme.”

When asked for comment, a representative from Big Spruce said they weren’t able to provide any further comment today.

Tatamagouche Brewing Company addressed the backlash in a post to their Facebook page, writing:

“Although our decision to support our local frontline workers, including police, was not racially driven, we are aware of the inequality the BIPOC community has faced in regards to treatment by law enforcement….

We have come to the conclusion with Big Spruce Brewing and Old Road BBQ to cancel the event and will regroup together with the best way to support not only the frontline workers and essential workers but the BIPOC community as well.”

Old Town BBQ wrote in a Facebook post of their own: 

“Thank you to everyone that has helped us support 1st responders and frontline health & safety workers over the past 5 months. Together we were able to prep and deliver $3,200 meals to folks working to keep us safe. That’s community!”

But Milburn says that’s not enough to convince him to change his mind.

“When I crack a cold one this weekend, I’ll be thinking of people like Heidi Stevenson, and all the other people who have, you know, put their lives on the line,” says Milburn.

“I’m more of a cider girl, but yes, I will continue to buy Big Spruce Brewing,” says Noble.

Weighing in with words and wallets, on a topic that has people talking.