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10/28/2016 10:58 am  #1

The Election is Even Ruining the Communal Experience of Beer

Will a Yuengling Executive’s Endorsement of Trump Hurt Beer Sales?

Throughout much of Pennsylvania, no one orders a Yuengling at the bar. People order a “lager,” and the server knows to bring a Yuengling Lager. There’s no need to specify.

The beer is as much a part of Pennsylvania identity as arguing over Sheetz and Wawa. So it made a lot of political sense for Eric Trump, one of Donald J. Trump’s sons, to travel to the battleground state and tour the craft brewery in Pottsville on Monday and hold a news conference with the company’s owner, Richard Yuengling Jr., who is known as Dick.

“Our guys are behind your father,” Mr. Yuengling, 73, told Mr. Trump at the news conference, according to The Reading Eagle. “We need him in there.”

But in these fractured times, that kind of statement can be costly for businesses. After the campaign event, some Yuengling fans have said they would no longer drink the beer.

“Everybody understands that the dollars that we now put into the marketplace have the potential to come back at us,” Brian Sims, a Pennsylvania state representative from Philadelphia, said in an interview on Thursday. “I want my dollars spent in a way that at the very least doesn’t hurt me, and hopefully supports me.”

Mr. Sims, a Democrat who became the state’s first openly gay legislator when he was elected in 2012, called for bars in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” to take Yuengling off tap and halt future orders. Two bars have agreed so far, Mr. Sims said, adding that he plans to expand his efforts to bars beyond the L.G.B.T. community.

At the same time, some users on social media have also pledged to stop drinking Yuengling. While it’s unclear how many customers Yuengling could lose, the episode shows the risk that business owners take in dipping their toes in politics.

“It’s not about who the owner wants to vote for; he can vote for whoever he wants,” Mr. Sims said, adding that he has drunk Yuengling since he became of drinking age. “But that support he’s giving is support he has because we’ve given it to them.”

A spokesperson for Yuengling did not return an email seeking comment.

Simply staying out of politics isn’t much of an option for business owners, and customers may not want that anyway. A report by the Global Strategy Group, a New York-based public affairs agency, found that Americans want companies to take political stances — 88 percent of the respondents to a poll in October 2015 said corporations “have the power to influence social change,” and 78 percent said corporations “should take action to address important issues facing society.”

“Consumers today have very high expectations around the companies that they do business with,” said Julie Hootkin, executive vice president at the Global Strategy Group. “There is a fundamental expectation that the companies take positions on the issues of the day.”

But the same report found that those businesses face consequences when they actually take those stances, especially when it comes to electoral politics. The P.G.A. was viewed 27 percentage points more negatively by Republicans and 28 points more positively by Democrats after it moved an event from a golf course owned by Donald J. Trump in July 2015. Apple faced a similar divide in September 2015 when its chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, denounced an Indiana law that was seen as permitting businesses to discriminate against gay couples.

Avoiding products or services created by executives supporting your disfavored candidate would be pretty difficult. Although the owners of some companies, like Chick-fil-A, have well-established political views that have prompted boycotts, others could be more quiet in their support.

It could be even harder to avoid sports and entertainment options. A report by CBS Sports found that the owners of the National Football League’s Houston Texans, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers donated to Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign include Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association; the chief executives of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers; the owners of the N.F.L.’s New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the head coaches of the N.F.L.’s Pittsburgh Steelers and the N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks; and the chairman of the Boston Red Sox, according to CBS Sports. (The Buccaneers’ owner, Edward Glazer, donated to both candidates, CBS Sports reported.)

No chief executive at the United States’ top 100 companies had donated to Mr. Trump’s campaign as of August, The Wall Street Journal found. In 2012, nearly one-third of the chief executives had supported Mitt Romney, the newspaper reported.

On Twitter, some people said they would stop drinking Yuengling, while Trump supporters pledged to increase their Yuengling consumption as a backlash to the backlash. 

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

10/28/2016 6:44 pm  #2

Re: The Election is Even Ruining the Communal Experience of Beer

Beer drinkers disavow Yuengling after owner shows support for Trump

Last edited by tennyson (10/28/2016 6:44 pm)

"Do not confuse motion and progress, A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress"

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