News & Politics

A Bud Guy or a Microbrew Man?

As the Obamas arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, one sudsy question: Now that we have a president who drinks, which beer will he enjoy after a long day in the Oval Office?

On the campaign trail, the President tried a variety. He explained drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon at a bar in North Carolina this way: “When in PBR land, you drink PBR.” In Pennsylvania he had a Yuengling, in Indiana a Budweiser.

His first impulse as president could be to return to what he knows best—Chicago and its own Goose Island ales. But does a world leader want to be shown with a beer named Honker’s Ale?

President Obama presents himself as a man with a refined palate, so microbrews might be the way to go—although any microbrew pick comes with a geographic price. Pennsylvania is important politically, and tough-minded drinkers of Iron City in Pittsburgh could be turned off if Obama drinks Gaelic Ale from North Carolina.

Mass-market Budweiser might have been a no-brainer two years ago, but given his repeated promises to protect American jobs, it’s doubtful he’d drink Bud now that it’s part of the Belgian company InBev.

Coors? Colorado voted Democratic in 2008, so it’s politically okay, but company head Pete Coors ran for the United States Senate in 2004 as a Republican and is a big GOP funder.

The President could show fiscal leadership by drinking a cheap beer like Old Milwaukee—but is “cheap” the right world-leader image?

Perhaps the Boston Beer Company is his best option. It makes Sam Adams—a historic, patriotic name—and the company preaches corporate responsibility. For an ecofriendly appearance, there’s always the New Belgium Brewery in Colorado. New Belgium relies on wind energy to produce its beer.

As to Obama’s preferred way of drinking beer? It’s right there in his campaign slogan: No bottles, just “yes, we can.”

This article first appeared in the February 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here

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