Crushing: Atlanta icon Blondie says she’s not being paid for beer created in her image

ATLANTA — Local legend Blondie -- an exotic dancer known for crushing beer cans at the Clermont Lounge -- has been immortalized on a local craft beer.

Last year, LaGrange’s Beacon Brewing Company created a beer called “Crushable,” which features a cartoon of Blondie and has her story printed on the back of the can.

But Blondie, whose real name is Anita Rae Strange, told Channel 2′s Justin Gray she is not getting paid for the company using her persona.

Strange, 62, has been crushing cans at the Clermont Lounge on Ponce for 41 years. She told Gray she was honored when Beacon Brewing told her they wanted to feature her image on their beer.

“These seem like nice people. You want to give me my own beer? I’ve been waiting for that for 20 years. It’s wonderful. It’s great,” Strange said.

The problem came after the fall launch of Crushable, when Blondie says she realized she would be getting no cut of the profits.

“It’s not the money, it’s just the principle of the thing,” Strange said. "It's a little frustrating that your likeness is used and they don't even want to pay you anything."

Attorney Robert Arkin is helping Strange and said the beer company took advantage of her.

"Blondie doesn't need the publicity. Everybody knows who Blondie is," Arkin said. "What Blondie needed to be was compensated, and that's the normal practice in the law."

Gray talked to the owner of Beacon Brewing Company over the phone. He said they had exchanged messages with Blondie and thought she'd agreed to do the can for free.

"We entered into what we thought was a good faith agreement. Now that we've been told that was not Blondie's understanding, we will be happy to try to make this right with her," he wrote.

The brewery now says they will offer Blondie a contract to give her 10% of past and future profits.

Blondie said she didn't even get any samples of the beer for free. She had to buy it at the store to show friends.

“It’s quite a nice gesture of friendship, but they’re not being very friendly,” Blondie said.