When the President sits down at the White House tonight for a beer with Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley, the Massachusetts cop who famously arrested Gates for getting mouthy, all three will be drinking foreign-owned brews, complains Anat Baron, Los Angeles-based director of the movie Beer Wars and former manager of Mike's Hard Lemonade.
"The president keeps saying it will be entrepreneurs that take us out of the recession. Well, there's plenty of American-owned, entrepreneurial beers available around the White House," Baron told me from home in Los Angeles.
Foreign-owned? "Obama’s press secretary says he’ll be drinking a Bud Light. It’s the No. 1 beer in America in terms of sales. It's made by Anheuser-Busch, which for $52 billion was sold last year to Belgian beermaker Inbev."
Why's Obama drinking that stuff? "He was seen at a Wizards game with a Budweiser. He’s trying to show he’s a populist. An all-American guy. He’s been quoted not wanting to drink a designer beer, a frou-frou beer."
So what's Obama's beer record? Campaigning in Pennsylvania, "he was seen drinking a Yuengling. It was great he had a Yuengling. Didn't that start out as a coal miner’s beverage?" You betcha - in hard-coal Pottsville, Pa., 90 miles up the Schuylkill from hereabouts. "And for his inauguration he drank a local Chicago beer. Goose Island. That's what they call a craft beer."
So why Bud, after Yuengling and Goose Island? "You think the president made this choice? His handlers chose. They picked the easy choice. He’s supposed to be the president of change. I understand why he drinks (Bud) at sporting events. It's all they have. But at the White House he has free choice. When the president chooses a burger, does he go to McDonald’s? He goes to the local burger joint.
"We hear Sgt. Crowley is drinking a Blue Moon. That's marketed as being made by Blue Moon Brewing Co. But it's actually owned by Coors," and distributed in partnership with Miller.
Aren't those good American beer names? "Miller now is owned by South African Brewing. Coors is owned by MolsonCoors, of Toronto." Blue Moon "is made in Toronto, in the Molson brewery. The craft brewers will tell you Blue Moon is a faux craft beer. Sold next to Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. But it is sold by a conglomerate."
How about Prof. Gates? "He's drinking a Jamaican beer. Red Stripe. It's mostly owned by Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company." Based in London. A colonial beer.
"So you’ve got a British-owned beer, a Belgian-owned beer, and a half-Canadian, half-South African beer. There are 1400 small American breweries. He could choose a Sam Adams."
Or, she added, "Yuengling would have been a great choice. It’s the oldest American brewery. And it’s American-owned." UPDATE: PhillyDeals didn't know (but should have), and readers have pointed out, that Yuengling is still the subject of a Teamster Local 830 boycott, confirms the local's Danny Grace. That makes "Vitamin Y" an unlikely choice for a labor-backed President.