The much heralded White House “beer summit” last night with President Barack Obama, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., Cambridge (Mass.) police Sgt. James Crowley and late-addition Vice President Joe Biden, looked like a meeting of world leaders at a round white table in the Rose Garden to some and, to others, more like a commercial for the sudsy beverages, observes Grumpy Editor.
Beneath a magnolia tree and sitting on white patio chairs, the quartet sipped beer while White House reporters were contained about 40 feet away from the discussions.
Shaky, pooled video footage with audio only of clicking camera shutters was fed to cable TV news channels about 15 minutes after the event got under way.
Earlier, it was discovered that none of the different beer brands preferred by Obama, Gates and Crowley during the “happy hour” came from a U.S.-owned brewery. Late-joiner Biden’s choice was cloaked in secrecy.
Thus, for PR folks representing American beer companies, the TV coverage was a bust for them.
But it provided another illustration that underscored key U.S. industries have been slipping into foreign hands.
As The Wall Street Journal pointed out in a front-page article yesterday:
“The problem is that all three beers are products of foreign companies. Red Stripe is brewed by London-based Diageo PLC. Blue Moon is sold by a joint venture in which London-based SABMiller has a majority stake. And Bud Light? It is made by Anheuser-Busch -- which is now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV after getting bought last year by a giant Belgian-Brazilian company.”
Red Stripe was preferred by Gates, Blue Moon by Crowley and Bud Light by the president. Since only glass mugs were shown on the picnic table, no labels on bottles were observed to see which beer was Biden’s favorite.
The quartet could have sampled some of the District of Columbia’s local brew. But efforts by the Capitol City Brewing Co., a few blocks from the White House, fell on deaf ears.
Grumpy Editor’s end-of-week leftover notes now appear on Saturdays