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The real star of the Roger Stone press conference was this guy in a Surly cap

Twitter

Twitter

For Surly Brewing Co., and for journalists across the state of Minnesota, it was a gift from the local angle gods.

“We started getting @-ed about the Roger Stone press conference on Friday a.m. and had no idea why,” says @RandBallsStu (Steve Neuman), Surly's manager of words/City Pages' Best Tweeter of 2018.

Stone, President Trump's self-described "dirty trickster" advisor and Nixon back tattoo sporter, was arrested Friday on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. But why was Surly getting dragged into it? As Neuman says: “There was no previous connection between Surly and that Babadook-looking-ass guy."

Neuman soon made his way to the Twitter Moment about Stone's Fort Lauderdale arrest—and there, front and center, was the Surly logo. The shot of the backwards Minneapolis brewery ball cap eventually wound up on basically every TV news outlet in America.

He supposes this is the strangest place Surly gear has popped up to date, unseating the previous record-holder: a bearded gent on MTV's Teen Mom 2: The Reckoning spotted in a Surly workshirt. So he did the natural thing: tweeted "this is weird," and asked fans for some help tracking the guy down.

It only took a few hours to find the mystery man, once Regina McCombs at the U of M journalism school saw the tweet and put the word out to her network. The guy in question turned out to be Joshua Prezant, a Florida-based photographer who didn't have any idea what the fuss was about when Surly came calling at around 3:30 that afternoon.

Seriously, all over the news.

Seriously, all over the news. CNN

"I didn't see any of the TV news coverage until late into the night," Prezant tells us. "A matter of fact, when I received a call late in the day asking me if I was the photographer wearing the Surly hat, I had to take off my cap and look!"

“He was definitely surprised that a Minnesota craft brewery was reaching out to him outta nowhere,” Neuman says.

Prezant is an everyday hat-wearer, but he just so happened to snag the Surly cap Friday morning while he dropped his kids off at school. There, he got a call about the Roger Stone assignment and headed to the Federal Courthouse. He and a few other photographers were early enough to stake out a spot in front of the makeshift mic stand before a lot of the TV crews and big media outlets showed up.

He flipped the brim around—another thing he doesn't usually do—because it would have interfered with his flash. "I had no idea that the back of my head was in any of the TV shots," Prezant admits. 

As for the hat's origins? Prezant actually hasn't been to Surly himself: His wife picked it up for him at a work conference a year or two ago. "She thought I would have really enjoyed the place," he says.

The Surly crew, meanwhile, are doing their part to make sure he's a fan.

“We're sending him a butt-ton (industry term) of Surly swag, including a new hat—the one he was sporting is pretty old," Neuman says. "Once it warms up a bit, we'll send some beer his way.”