Site icon Brookston Beer Bulletin

Beer In Politics: Fruit and Nuts

I got an e-mail last week from John Schlimm, the author of the recently published Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook. He did a sidebar, Beer and the Campaign Trail, with beer recipes for each of the Presidential candidates and their spouses, based on their personalities. For example, Bill Clinton’s dish is “Squirrel Dinner for Two with a Root Beer Float” and John McCain’s is a “Cheese Steak Sandwich with a Red, White, & Blue.” Schlimm is also a member of the Straub family, whose family have operated the Straub Brewery in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, since his great-great-grandfather Peter Straub opened it in 1872.

The sidebar was for an article in The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper, entitled Drink Up, by Betsy Rothstein. Drink Up examines beer in campaigns, especially when candidates use beer as a photo op to appear connected to the masses of voters. For many people, the question “which candidate would you like to have a beer with” says more about the social function of beer than the individual candidates.

“Beer is, by its very definition, a product that brings people together, a product of celebration,” said Craig Purser, president and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. “It’s something Americans connect with.”

Beer and politics is nothing new, of course. As the most popular alcoholic drink for decades, if not longer, beer has been part of the campaign trail in some fashion for nearly every election since our country’s founding. It would actually be more surprising if it didn’t figure in elections, since it’s such an integral part of our society.

Of course, not everyone likes the idea of alcohol and society co-existing. Strange as it seems, Steve Kagen, a Democrat representing the 8th District of Wisconsin in the House of Representatives, “sees no place for it in his professional life. ‘I have listening sessions, not drinking sessions,’ he says” rather condescendingly. Presumably, for him the two are mutually exclusive. I assume he’s no friend to his home state’s Miller Brewing Co., who so obviously contribute positively to the economy and create jobs nor to the millions of his constituents who enjoy drinking beer. But his final words say it best.

Kagen says if he were sitting down with the politician who would represent his best interests and those of his family, “it would be my hope that they would offer me fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Now I love both fruit and vegetables, but nothing says “man of the people” quite like a teetotaler who’d prefer apples to ales, or lettuce to lagers. That’s just nuts.


Exit mobile version