July 30th, 2009
11:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Beer choice at Obama meeting touches off new debate

What beer should be served at the Obama-Gates-Crowley get together?
What beer should be served at the Obama-Gates-Crowley get together?

(CNN) - The upcoming White House meeting with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the Cambridge police officer who arrested him earlier this month appears to have touched off a fresh debate all on its own: what kind of beer should be served?

Earlier this week the White House indicated each man would drink the beer of their choice - Bud Light for President Obama, Blue Moon for the police officer, and perhaps Red Stripe or Beck's for Gates.

But one Massachusetts congressman thinks another beer entirely should be served: Boston's own Sam Adams.

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

Instead, the White House should serve the three men - all with ties to Massachusetts - the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.

But Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch told NPR if it was up to him he would make a special beer just for the event.

"I'd make a blend of ingredients from all over the world. Which is certainly what's represented there with the three participants," he said. "I would blend those ingredients together artfully and harmoniously, because that's really what we all hope for."

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports other Massachusetts-based beer companies are also hoping to get their product a space at the high-profile meeting.

Dan Kenary, president of Harpoon Brewery, told the paper they are working every "back-door channel" the company has.

"We'd love to be the beer at this event," Kenary said.

Read Rep. Neal's letter (PDF) here.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. RR

    The Belgians do make better beer than Americans, but Bud Light? Come on, Mr. President? How about Guinness, a microbrew, or at least Sam Adams Light?

    July 30, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Mark

    This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. This congressman obviously doesn't have enough to do.

    July 30, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. pat

    Oh for God's sake. We're not socialist yet. Freedom of choice of beer prevails for now.

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Woody

    It makes me sick to see our tax dollars being waisted by the president that WE HIRED (VOTED) TO BE THE PRESIDENT to run our country, not get involved in such a trivial issue. Man up President Obama and lets start taking the job serious.

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    Typical reaction of a Boston Liberal.

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Esco

    Bud Light for the Win!

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Agitated

    This is so stupid. Now even the beer makers want their 15 minutes of fame. I surely hope this is the last time we have to deal with this type of circus. Ridiculous!

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. GOPer

    This is so absurd but I bet the beer companies are liking the free publicity!

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. isaac

    why did i read this article.

    July 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Jason Ferguson

    While Bud is now owned abroad, last time I checked it was the largest union run brewery. The President might be weighing that into the equation.

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Lisa S.

    POTUS should not be encouraging beer drinking. I have a 9-year old son and this doesn't set a good example for him, coming from the President. Lemonade, ice tea, soda or coffee would be more appropriate.

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Keeth in California

    CNN, why have you reposted this non-news? This entire story is getting absolutely silly if not downright stupid. Everyone's getting offended by something, as if everyone has a God-given right to not be offended. This me-me-me attitude and this kind of trashy tabloid journalism are two of the many reasons why our country and culture are going down the toilet.

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    Wow, CNN, you are hitting us with the fine in-depth journalism that makes the modern media such pinnacles of respect: Obama holding a peach, a quibble over what kind of beer should be drunk at a meeting, and Obama's likabiliy when he waves.

    What is the president's stand on non-fat milk? Will you be putting that hard-hitting insight into the ticker today also?

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. carol

    This "thing" is UTTER NONSENCE. 1st – obama should stick to what he was elected to do, 2nd – why is he promoting beer. Don't we have enough acohol problems? 3rd – he should be spending his free time with his family – not in the spot light instigating more race problems. 4th – get on with the job he was elected to do – GET OUR ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK – ie; get us out of the mess he's helping foster. STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE.

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Malcolm - Ellicott City, MD

    Mr. Koch should make the special blend for Mr. Neal – and all of the other members of Congress.

    July 30, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Mark

    Why not serve Capitol Brewing Co. beer? Made right in D.C. Keep the local beer economy going.

    July 30, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    Personally my choice would be "Rolling Rock" with Miller Highlight a strong second...

    July 30, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Patrick Belvin, Lake Stevens, WA

    Let the men choose whatever beer they want and keep the politics out of it no matter how tongue-and-cheek this article is. It's about pro-choice (Beer that is). To Congressman Neal, if the Prez wants a Bud, let him have a Bud – Bud!

    July 30, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Jim Storey

    As a homebrewer, I couldn't agree more. They should definitely go for the American craft brewers. Besides supporting the local businesses, President Obama could find out what a real beer tastes like, rather than the watered down, tasteless mass produced beers.

    July 30, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. michael

    Does anybody at all care?

    July 30, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Mike

    I really don't think the White house should have a problem serving any of those beers, since they all employ U.S. workers. And Coors is a jointly owned U.S./Canadian company. You think a congressmen would have staff who could use Google or even Wikipedia to check these things out.

    July 30, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Robin

    My husband agrees with Rep. Neal!

    July 30, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. C W

    The men should drink whatever they want, since the purpose of the meeting is to get together, talk and come to some understanding.

    It's not a product-placement opportunity! Grow up, folks!

    July 30, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. AG

    Really??? Let them drink whatever they want! Apparently, they do not like Sam Adams since no one requested it!! People are too much these days!

    July 30, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. Anon

    Um, does the senator from Mass. not have more important things do with his time?

    July 30, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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