About the Boycott

Unfortunately, powerful special interests occasionally seem like too much to overcome. This time it’s Anheuser-Busch and their distribution network in Alabama. It has become increasingly clear to us that they have been working hard to defeat our bills over the last few weeks.

This all started when Doug Bailey, a high-powered lobbyist with Anheuser-Busch, came to Alabama and started drumming up opposition to our Brewery Modernization Act. The Alabama Wholesale Beer Association is not opposed to this bill, but Mr. Bailey was successful in convincing many Anheuser-Busch wholesalers in this state to work against us.

We were offered a proposed compromise. We counter-offered, they counter-offered, and in the end we actually liked what was proposed -  we were ready to accept it if they were ready to support it.

Then they reneged. The compromise was no longer acceptable, and they offered another compromise. This went on for some time, and each time the ball on the Brewery Modernization Act was moved farther away from what was acceptable. Their latest proposed language, given to us this week, was nothing short of an abomination.

If that whole ordeal seems like a stalling tactic designed to waste our time, well… I can see where one would reach that conclusion. We’re no longer playing their game.

Anheuser Busch and their individual distributors have every right to work the legislature against the Brewery Modernization Act. They can be opposed to a jobs-creating, economic development bill that would benefit local business. They can oppose craft beer and Free the Hops. But the craft beer community and Free the Hops can oppose them too.

Anheuser-Busch products and products from their distribution network are now banned from Free the Hops events. This will have its first big effect on the Rocket City Brewfest and will continue with the Magic City Brewfest unless the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable.

We also call on our members and supporters to boycott these products. Here is a list of which products are carried by these opponents to craft beer.

This ban and boycott will be in effect until the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable. The ball is in their court.

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17 Comments

  1. Matthew
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    It seems the list of products link is broken

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Copy and paste fails me again. I fixed it.

  2. Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Bravo!!! I love it!

  3. Drew
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    We support you!

  4. Brad
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Well that seriously limits our beer choices here in Mobile. Although I support the cause, it will be difficult to find a beer not on that list.

    • Jackson
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure of the exact beer selection in Mobile, but that seems like a tiny fraction of the great breweries in distribution around the state. Some of the larger craft breweries just off the top of my head… Sweetwater, Abita, Left Hand, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Harpoon, Yazoo, Boulevard, Spoetzl, Terrapin, etc…

      • Brad
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – sweetwater, abita, and lefthand are usually on my 0favorites list. But some places seem to only carry a limited selection, such as Baumhowers Wings carrying only Back 40. The big disappointments on the list are Tommyknocker, Moylans, and Great Divide which are nice to enjoy on occasion.

  5. Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Small craft breweries need support so they can influence their distributors regardless of who distributes.

  6. Dan Murphy
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    What was the language that made the most recent version an abomination?

  7. Dave
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    This is pretty rediculous. The wholesalers that used to distribute only Anheuser-Busch products have broken their exclusivity and are now distributing many different products. This has enabled many smaller brewers and non-alcoholic beverage producers to be distributed by the best network in the country. To say that you are boycotting any beer that is distributed by ant wholesaler that carries any Anheuser-Busch products has a motive. There are many great breweries that realize that they can reach more consumers by going with better distribution networks. In my opinion, you should drink whatever you like, no matter who distributes it. Drink what you like, not what people tell you to drink!

  8. Dave
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I just noticed that Sam Adams is a sponsor on this page! Sam Adams is distributed by many wholesalers that also carry Anheuser-Busch! What a crock of $hit this “movement” is!

  9. Posted April 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Sam Adams is not carried by any of the AB wholesalers we are boycotting.

    This is only in Alabama.

  10. Richard
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    At least I have my perfectly legal homebrew to drink!

  11. John
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Dave, the boycott is not just about Anheuser-Busch, but their distributors, which is why other products are affected. AB may be the genesis of the conflict, but it’s ultimately the local affiliated distributors that are doing the ground work in fighting the legislation. The only way to affect the distributors is to boycott ALL of their products, not just the AB beers.

  12. ant111
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    It’s sad that you have a new brewhouse like Backforty working their tail off for your cause and then you put them on your boycott list ! I guess you are playing GOD of the beer business and are willing to destroy a new brewhouse just for having a distributor you don’t agree with…….. Good Job !!!

  13. Mike D
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Quick question, a good many of those beers are craft brews themselves. Are we boycotting the distributor or Anheuser-Busch? Who is the distributor? Perhaps one could be writing to those brewers and inform them of what’s going on with the folks distributing their beers. I know that the guys at Boulder, Great Divide and Avery would like to know that their wares are being used negatively for political reasons and you might find a sympathetic ear and possibly another front on which to apply pressure for at least the distributors to accquiesce.

    • Mike D
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      That goes for the Tommyknocker brews as well.