Thursday, July 30, 2009

No small beer?

Posted on Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 3:59 PM

After the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley, there’s no doubt that President Barack Obama had hoped to defuse some of the tension by calling for a “Beer Summit.” The beer-themed meeting between the president and the two men, set for tonight at the White House, made us laugh a bit when we heard about it. Beer, of course, is something of a universal language, and the idea of the three men raising their glasses has probably helped raise everybody’s spirits a bit.

Except, it would seem, the country’s craft brewers. In a statement released by the Magic Hat Brewing Company of Burlington, Vt., it appears some small brewers are in a froth over the president’s (and Sgt. Crowley’s) choice of brew.

The statement explains that the “summit” will see the three men drinking beers of their choice “For Obama: Bud Light. For Gates: Red Stripe. For Crowley: Blue Moon.” The statement continues:

Craft Brewers the country over are chagrined by the President’s choice to consume a beer owned by a company based outside of America’s borders. Bud Light, owned by Belgium-based AB InBev, and Blue Moon, owned by London-based SAB MillerCoors, together control over 90 percent of the beer market in the United States. However, the United States boasts almost 1,500 craft brewers, the majority being made up of small Main Street Businesses that employ less than 50 people. In the humble opinions of Magic Hat and American Craft Brewers, it would be a strong show of support for American businesses for President Obama to embrace the free and diverse expression that comes with each American-made craft beer.

The statement ends with a plea for Americans to get in touch with the White House to ask President Obama to quaff American Craft Beer instead.

While it’s not a huge political issue, it’s nice to see small American companies get organized and active, supporting American companies, products and jobs. So, um, here’s to them.

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