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. Anonymous

    Yet again I must beg the question, why in the world is this a news story?? Can't we see some interesting, ground-breaking journalism? Perhaps corruption in government, scientific breaks, how badly CNN and other media outlets do their jobs?

    July 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Srinivas

    Seriously people get a life, let the men drink what they like! Dont have real problems to solve here?

    July 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. chelle

    Seriously – Americans are just weird......a debate over which beer the President is drinking???

    July 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Jase

    Get a life.

    July 30, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. matchew

    Sam Adam's

    July 30, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. selenakyle

    Oh for crying out loud, people need to get over it!

    Who cares what kind of beer anyone person drinks? It IS still a free country, last time I checked anyway.

    Why don't they find something useful to do other than gripe and moan about every tiny little thing?

    And really–is ANYTHING 100% American-made these days? Sheesh.

    July 30, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Justen

    slow news day CNN?

    July 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Lucy

    My goodness if they were drinking water someone would complain.... Budweiser was built by Americans (it may be earned Belgian now but if we want to be on the band wagon of global expansion not all companies here will be owned by us), it employees tons of Americans, it pays American taxes and is the top drinking beer in the country. Plus Rep. Neal should know that beer is a personal choice thing, once you find a beer you love you don't care what conglomerate owns it once they are not terrorist......

    July 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Wolf

    Hooray Beer!

    July 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. TD

    Enough with all this minutiae! The US is crumbling, why do we care about what type of beer they drink?!? Rep. Neal needs to get a life.

    July 30, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Bert French

    On a serious note to this subject if these men can sit down to a beer and relax, set aside pre existing biased notions and opinions and learn what the other person is really about and leave the evening with a renewed sense of non racial tension that will do more good for our country than what brand of beer it is LOL. Lets please learn to accept and love one another.

    July 30, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. carlos

    Isn't there better things to worry about than what type of beer people are drinking?
    There are wars, an economic crisis, health care, and so on... It is like the Jackson coverage.
    I am all about supporting local beer companies, especially microbreweries, but it is implying they people are un-American for drinking beers now owned by out of country corporations. Budweiser didn't have to sell off to a Belgium company and Miller or Coors didn't have to sell of to UK companies.
    Oh well. For the rest of you, drink microbrews, I like foreign beer too. support everyone

    July 30, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Joe in NJ

    How about some nice iced tea instead of beer?

    July 30, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Montuckyian

    Politicizing some guys trying to settle a matter over beer. I for one would have ordered a Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale (Australian).

    July 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. tired of it all

    Hopefully the next story in this whole saga is about the seating arrangement for the meeting tonight.

    July 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Hudgins

    With all the problems we have in this country, you would think Richard Neal would be more concurend about matters of importance. Health Care for one. With the new proposal for health care, what will really happen to the older generation. I beleive they will not get the meds they need because there will be cuts in Medicare & Medicaid. So in the end meds they have been getting probably will be denied. So does this mean the die because the are old.

    July 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Jefe

    Personally, I think Obama shouldn't drink Bud Light because its low-quality swill. He should give Goose Island 312 (a local Chicago brew) a try. Although, I do like the brewmaster's idea of the special blend.

    July 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Mr. B

    Really? This is breaking news?

    July 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Fred

    Listen to this drivel. Is this what we pay these idiots for "miffed over choice of beer". I wonder why this nation is in the state it's in.

    July 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Tony

    I am glad Rep. Richard Neal has his priorities so in order. Deciding what beer someone should be allowed to choose would be one of the first things on my task list if I were ever elected to public office.

    July 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Dave G

    Is there anything these days which doesn't result in some kind of controversy? Gimme a break.

    July 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Timothy McDonald

    Is this really news, There are plenty of Beermakers in the US, my friend down the street is a Beermaker and a Retired Marine. Can he get the contract for the Beer?

    July 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Brian

    Really? This is what congress is worried about. Health care reform will never happen, these people are yokels. They couldn't reform a paper bag if they were given a pair of scissors.

    July 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. Ginny

    If all our congressmen have to do is to worry about which beer is served in the white house, we need to reduce the number of congressmen and elect a few who worry about health care and the economy!!!!
    Ginny

    July 30, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Dave

    To Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal: Get a life! It's beer. Not a national security issue. How petty can you get!

    July 30, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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