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June 11, 2008

Mug Shots - Your beer is The Man

In my May 14 column, readers were treated to a brief look at the cost and pricing structure of a lucrative business that trails only the international petroleum conglomerates in effortless price gouging.

Namely, America’s sports concessionaires, who parlay restricted competition and megabrewery complicity into what I noted after a visit to a Reds game: At least $900 clear on a $120 keg of beer, although I failed to mention that the concessionaire probably didn’t pay full price for the keg in the first place — why quibble over $50 when you’re clearing 18 times that sum?

But isn’t it great to be read and appreciated? Consider the following e-mail, which I’ve edited to protect the sender’s identity: 

Today my wife and I had lunch in St. Matthews. Over a club sandwich and two craft beers, we observed the Budweiser rep at the bar across from us with the LEO open to your column. The manager was beside him. They initially discussed a recent beer promotion for a Budweiser beer masquerading as a craft beer made in Williamsburg, Virginia. Then the rep began to read aloud your column, with disparaging remarks about your ancestry, sanity and beer knowledge, accompanied by the rolling of eyes. It was quite entertaining, and almost worth sticking around for a third beer.

That’s rich, especially since precious few mass-market wholesalers of the Bud variety can discuss beer with any degree of proficiency … at least beyond that required to calculate windfall profits from restricted competition. 

Yes, there are reasons why the big guys got to be big, and they’re worth remembering for each and every consumer currently pounding a bottle of industrial Cartel-Brau on the counter, all the while railing against the evils of The Man. 

Guess what, guys: Your beer is The Man.


Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit www.potablecurmudgeon.com for more beer.