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White House FOIA Request Author Says Obama Has Obligations to the Home-Brewing Community

Texas lawyer Brody Burks already makes his own honey ale. But he’d like to see the White House recipe nonetheless.

Beer is made for sharing, says FOIA author. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

At a press briefing yesterday, White House spokesperson Jay Carney disappointed the home-brewing masses by saying, when asked if President Obama planned to release the White House beer recipes, that he knew of no plans to do so. (Here’s the full, funny transcript of the exchange.) The question came in response to a flurry of press coverage earlier this week after a Reddit user filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for the ale recipe “or other beer made by the White House staff.”

We spoke to the author of the request yesterday, an assistant district attorney—and home-brewing enthusiast—in Limestone County, Texas, named Brody Burks. Burks, who says he filed his first FOIA request at the age of eight while authoring a report on the Ebola virus, told us he was aware the White House isn’t subject to FOIA when he filed the paperwork. “I’ve learned you will never get anything you don’t ask for,” he told us, adding that he believed the office only received “about 70 requests a year,” and figured someone on the staff might find the request amusing and pursue it.

Legal technicalities aside, Burks says he believes that as a home-brewing supporter, President Obama should embrace the spirit of sharing among home brewers nationwide. “If President Obama wants to be part of the community, he needs to fulfill certain obligations,” he says. Burks is currently brewing a lager-style beer and just finished the last bottle of his own honey ale—the recipe for which he’d be happy to share with the White House, should they ever request it.

Update: As of Tuesday, August 28, the petition has 14,973 signatures.

At last count, an online petition urging POTUS to release the recipes had attracted 3,882 signatures—just 21,118 short of its mid-September goal.

Update: Carney tweeted that if the petition “reaches the threshold,” the White House will release the recipe.

  • The 8/28 update count is WRONG. That's how many more signatures are needed to reach 25K. There are barely 10K signatures. I spent two straight days homebound b/c of Tropical Storm Isaac tweeting this petition out to friends, contacts, asking famous people to RT. And still, this petition gets like 4-500 signatures a day from all sources. It's on track to fail unless everyone gets on board.

    Frankly, for me, I don't really care about the recipe. I care about the challenge of getting the recipe. I think it would be cool to get 25K and then watch the President change his mind. THAT would be awesome!

    Honestly though, how do all these homebrewers that want the recipe think they can possibly brew the same beer. If Bobby Flay gave me his great-grandma's famous recipe for Awesome Food, that doesn't mean I can make it. Plus, you guys, you will NEVER get any honey from the White House bee hives, so it's an impossible recipe to even dream of.

    I'd just like to try the beer. And we're running out of time.

    Sign the damn petition!

  • Beerfan

    This same Texas lawyer ran down a robber while serving as assistant county attorney in Kleberg County, Texas, leading to the appropriate nickname "Bullet". Methinks the presidential beer should be called "Bullet Beer"

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