Friday, February 01, 2008
Free The Hops Calls for Boycott of Anheuser-Busch in Birmingham
Free The Hops: Alabamians for Specialty Beer has been working for three years to try to get the Alabama Legislature to revise its backward rules on beer and lift the 6 percent alcohol by volume maximum enforced in the state. Similar efforts have been launched in other southern states and I can tell you that in my home state of North Carolina, where the Pop The Cap campaign was successful in changing the rules, the beer culture has flourished and there have been no widespread reports of people running naked through the streets.
Free The Hops has not been able to get the job done, it says, in part because the local Anheuser-Busch distributor in Birmingham has been lobbying to block the legislation. Free The Hops (FTH) says Birmingham Budweiser first moved to stop legislation that would allow gourmet beer in Jefferson County and is working to stop a statewide bill that would allow high gravity beers to be available to consumers. The bill FTH wants passed would bump the limit to 14.9 percent alcohol by volume, which would open the doors to a number of domestic craft brewers, Belgian specialty brands and styles like barleywine and imperial stout.
To fight back, Free The Hops has called on consumers to boycott all A-B products in the Birmingham area. According to their website: "FTH has called this boycott because of underhanded tactics of Birmingham Budweiser and its leadership in opposing local legislation which would legalize gourmet beer in Jefferson County." FTH called out Birmingham Budweiser Vice President Pat Lynch as the leader of the effort to block the craft beer bill. In addition to asking consumers to go Bud free, FTH is asking restaurants and retailers to stop selling A-B brands.
Rallying in support of Alabama beer drinkers, the Sean Wilson of Pop The Cap in North Carolina sent an email to supporters this week urging them to call Birmingham Budweiser at 205-945-4893 and ask to speak to Mr. Lynch. The goal of the telephone campaign is to remind Lynch that "his position is inconsistent with a key message promoted in A-B's Here's To Beer" advertising and public relations campaign.