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

Beer choice at Obama meeting touches off new debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/29/art.beer.gi.jpg caption="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. Marc

    All over the world?

    These three are Americans.

    Is that so hard to grasp?

    July 30, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Dude

    global warming, terrorist, health care...beer choice....

    we're stupid...

    July 30, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. S. Nolen

    I like Mr. Koch already and I've never met him! I don't drink very much, but I will now give Samuel Adams a try! I think his offer to blend a multi-cultural beer for this event is the greatest idea ever! That is what America is after all, multi-cultural – to have a beer to celebrate that diversity is a wonderful idea!

    July 30, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. meme

    How about an Iron City Beer!!!

    July 30, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. David Barrett

    I have absolutely no doubt the very same scenario that brought this story into view happens on a daily basis around the country . . . why is the President involved at all?

    If a person (ANY person) is witnessed breaking into a home, and then refuses to identify themselves when apprehended, that (derranged or arrogant) individual deserves everything the police bring forth in making the arrest.

    Dave Barrett
    Norco, CA

    July 30, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Most Americans dont care about taste or where a product is made as long as its cheap,like themselves.They have no National pride, like most other countries that try buy homegrown products made by their own workers.

    July 30, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Quaffer

    Want to know why the Congress is held in such low esteem? Look no further. I commend Professor Gates on his choice of Red Stripe or Becks. For all you do, no Bud for you!

    July 30, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. JJ

    Are you kidding me? Now we are going to let the government tell us what kind of beer to drink too? This goes right along with the socialist movement in the country. Americans, get ready to say goodbye to all of those freedoms you have enjoyed that were paid for with many lives. Why did we bother sending men to die to fight against communism? That's exactly where we are heading. The government knows best, right?

    July 30, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Ridiculous!

    Should we not then drink scotch because it's named after another country or drink Corona because it's from Mexico, etc.? I'm actually surprised that we haven't heard very much from the teetotalers on this one.

    It seems that, no matter what, somebody will be upset or offended. I say drink what you like. Everything doesn't have to be a political statement!

    July 30, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. JA/TN

    people please, let's talk about something with some thunder, healthcare, economy, the wars, energy

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Ash

    That a Congressman felt so compelled to write a letter to our president over his choice of beer is just laughable to me. Rep. Richard Neal, I think there are more important things in the world to focus on than what beer our president does or doesn't drink. Positively ridiculous.

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Kimberley

    the president should not have gotten involved in this mess in the first place. It shouldnt matter what beer they chose as that is not the point of the event.

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Well oh well

    It's beer. Why does everything have to be controversial. I have my favorite and it's owned by an overseas company. Each attendant should be able to drink what they like. Not have a beer that is an unknown to them. Just makes for a more comfortable setting.

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. smokinjoe2473

    Who cares? Does Rep. Richard Neal have nothing better to do, if not I think the voters in his district need to consider a new canidate next election......

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. jv

    Sam Adams is owned by Budweiser, which is not located in Boston.

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Gator

    Really important stuff. huh

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Eric

    Doesn't this congressman from Massachusetts have anything better to do than worry about what beer the president is drinking? Those companies may be owned from companies outside the US, but they are still employing many Americans.

    July 30, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. paul coke

    How silly is the request, perhaps this is the choice of the guest.
    Why not a 40oz Brown Derby, people need to get real.

    July 30, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Mike

    Oh for the love of god everybody just grow up.

    July 30, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Jon

    is this really news?

    oh, right, another obama puff piece from CNN.

    July 30, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. KJL

    Sam Adams is my favorite beer, but the men should definitely get a choice. Beer is a personal thing. Just stay away from Billy Beer.

    July 30, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Carmen

    I think the beer event is awesome – I cannot believe a MA Representative has an issue. They picked their own beers. This was NOT about politics and state promotion. It was about personal preference – not everyone likes Sam Adams and not everyone likes Bud Light. Just because you're from MA doesn't mean you like the beer brewed there. This has nothing to do with any state or any political endorsement. I think this is a unique/cool way of handling this whole thing. What a breath of fresh air.

    July 30, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. sheisone

    This is about the most stupidest thing I have ever heard. Trying to push your choice of beer over theirs. People will do anything for a story. Trying to make this controversial because the beer is not made in the USA. Anything to critisize. STUPID!!

    July 30, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. Independent Bob

    Give me a break! Why is this newsworthy? I guess the media can now fabricate some controversy from this and thus keep us tuned in!

    July 30, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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