It’s not unusual for people attempting to smooth over a contentious discussion to say that they’d of course be willing to get together for a friendly beer some time. Apparently, when one has the resources and media visibility of the President, it’s possible to actually pull this off, but trouble can ensue.
When President Obama called Cambridge police officer Crowley last week to try to smooth over tension resulting from Obama’s declaration that Crowley’s arrest of Professor Gates had been “stupid”, Officer Crowley suggested that the three men should get together for a few beers. It seems that Obama thought this was a good idea, and a beer summit between the three men is currently scheduled to take place are scheduled to get together at a White House and knock back a couple cold ones.
However, this morning’s Wall Street Journal reveals that peace making is never simple, American brewers are upset over the likely offering at the beer fest:
Late Wednesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs hinted the presidential cooler will likely be stocked with what he understood to be the two guests’ own personal favorites — Red Stripe and Blue Moon.
“The president will drink Bud Light,” Mr. Gibbs added.
The problem is that all three beers are products of foreign companies. Red Stripe is brewed by London-based Diageo PLC. Blue Moon is sold by a joint venture in which London-based SABMiller has a majority stake.
And Bud Light? It is made by Anheuser-Busch — which is now known as Anseuser-Busch InBev NV after getting bought last year by a giant Belgian-Brazilian company.
Among rival brewers, the news fell flat. “We would hope they would pick a family-owned, American beer to lubricate the conversation,” said Bill Manley, a spokesman for the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., a California-based brewer that happens to be family-owned.
Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, decried “the foreign domination of something so basic and important to our culture as beer.”
Genesee Brewery, Rochester, N.Y., released a statement congratulating the president for having beer at the meeting but adding: “We just hope the next time the President has a beer, he chooses an American beer, made by American workers, and an American-owned brewery like Genesee.”
For the past several days, David von Storch, co-founder of Capitol City Brewing Company — which owns a brewpub just a few blocks from the White House — has been lobbying the administration to serve his company’s “Equality Ale.”
“What better beer to have them drink than the only beer brewed in the District of Columbia, Capitol City Brewing Company Equality Ale!” Mr. von Storch wrote in an email he sent Tuesday to several White House staffers.
When questioned by reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Gibbs, the White House spokesman, tackled the beer issue head-on. “As I understand it — I have not heard this, I’ve read this, so I’ll just repeat what I’ve read, that Professor Gates said he liked Red Stripe, and I believe Sergeant Crowley mentioned to the president that he liked Blue Moon. So we’ll have the gamut covered tomorrow afternoon. I think we’re still thinking, weather permitting, the picnic table out back. All right?”
Dan Kenary, president of Boston-based Harpoon Brewery, said he wanted to make a run at getting some of his beer into the meeting but couldn’t find any intermediaries with close White House contacts. “I think just showing up at the gate with a case of Harpoon would make them look at us funny,” he said.
Not to add to the frey, but the ale which most immediately springs to my mind is Avery Brewing Company’s “Collaboration Not Litigation Ale”.
No one seems to be aiming that high, however. Some advocate of hope and change to be planning to drink the famously making-love-in-a-canoe Bud Light. But perhaps it’s indicative that beer is truly the drink of the working man that Officer Crowley actually have the highest grade beer tastes — though as quality beers go I’d see Blue Moon as more of a filler than a headliner.