Purple States of Beer
Every single beer lover, especially homebrewers, delighted in learning last year that the POTUS was enjoying some White Housebrew, made using the FLOTUS’s own honey made right out in the garden. Of course, why couldn’t he have fired up the brew kettles a couple years earlier for that famous Beer Summit (where he quaffed Bud Light). But, now it’s campaign season again, and the POTUS is back on the bus and this time… he’s not just kissing babies, he’s gladhanding with bottles of White Housebrew. Doubtful that the same garden has many trellised hop bines to make a Presidential IPA (oh wait, the Diamond Bear Brewery in Little Rock already makes that), it’s reportedly the same light, honey ale. But admit it, we’d all love to try it!
Conversely, Obama’s opponent Romney has publicly stated that just once in his life did he “tried a beer…once…and never did it again.”
This isn’t to say that beer drinkers, or teetotalers, should vote for president based on who’s a better beer drinker or who they’d rather have a beer with (though clearly only one of the candidates has the religious freedom to drink one with you). Because I believe in something I’ve long referred to as The Purple States of Beer.
“Purple states” lean neither red nor blue, neither conservative nor liberal, republican nor democrat. Its denizens are—viewed as a whole—open-minded, free thinkers who aren’t branded or stuck to a party (or brand) dogmatically. In other words, they’re like craft beer drinkers who are open to any palatable candidate (or brand) on tap that moment.
As the NPR story hyperlinked above informed, “According to a survey conducted by Scarborough Research, 47 percent of independent voters drank a beer in the past 30 days, while just 40 percent of republicans and 39 percent of democrats did.”
So in a way, it behooves politicians to do one of two things: align with the independents (becoming apolitical is probably asking too much) or be public about their beer consumption. However, brewers have been known to dip their feet in political waters. On the GOP side, MillerCoors chairman Pete Coors once ran for Senate. The poster boy for brewing democrats is Colorado Governer John Hickenlooper, a co-founder of Wynkoop, the state’s first brewpub. As for political families, winemaker Brooks Firestone was elected as a California State Assemblyman (R), whose son Adam is co-founder of Firestone-Walker. New Belgium CEO and co-founder Kim Jordan’s dad worked in the LBJ (D) administration.
But I’ve no doubt that all these ladies and gentlemen could belly up to a bar and be instant compatriots, unified by their common belief that beer is good, liberating and the American way.