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May 18, 2005 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Man Claims Firing Over Drinking Wrong Beer He works for one mega-beer brand and, on his own time, partook of a competitor's.
posted by alumshubby (72 comments total)

 
Also, alternate writeup of the story.
posted by alumshubby at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2005


See also Coke vs. Pepsi and Miller vs. Bud Light.
posted by brain_drain at 12:27 PM on May 18, 2005


I think it would be wonderful if it were not just a bad career move, but actually a crime, to drink Coors in public.
posted by gurple at 12:30 PM on May 18, 2005


Coors would be a felony, but Coors Light a misdemeanor?
posted by alumshubby at 12:33 PM on May 18, 2005


Budweiser claims that he was fired for "a conflict of interest" but that rings pretty hollow since the guy's job doesn't involve any discretionary decision making which choice of off-duty beer could influence.

More generally, we're seeing way too much of these attempts by employers to claim control over their employees' off the job lives, whether firings for political statements, smoking, or choice of beers, or Fundies against Microsoft to fire employees who, in their private capacity as citizens lobby for the passage of gay rights laws. Not to mention the Bush administration not allowing telecom employees who contributed to the Kerry campaign to participate in purely technical international engineering protocol discussions -- a practice that can only make the Democratic employees less valuable to their employers.

What's needed is privacy laws that clearly state their exists a private sphere on which employment decisions cannot be made, and into which employers' enquires should be strictly limited to what can be shown to actually affect job performance. Because if we don't band together, we're soon going to find employers telling us how to live, not just how to work.
posted by orthogonality at 12:34 PM on May 18, 2005


I'm trying hard to be outraged.
posted by ColdChef at 12:36 PM on May 18, 2005


Coors would be a felony, but Coors Light a misdemeanor?

Vice versa. Bud would be a potentially capital offence, and PBR would get you a stern warning.

/beer snobbery
posted by gurple at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2005


Or the litigiousness of American society could solve the problem if lawsuits against this type of heavy-handedness produce the proper awareness of its wrongness and foster a chilling effect on it.
posted by alumshubby at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2005


What about the effect with regards to right-to-work states?
posted by mystyk at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2005


Colorado law says workers cannot be fired for a legal activity while off duty and away from work.

Interesting if true. The vast majority of states do not have similar laws. This guy's lucky he lives in Colorado.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2005


Man if the career ladder really worked this way, I'd be president of Budweiser by now.
posted by mfargo at 12:41 PM on May 18, 2005


There are a lot of great Colorado workforce laws. But if you just got fired/laid-off, are you going to go find a lawyer at $500/hour to sue, or just look for another job?
posted by Spencerinc at 12:41 PM on May 18, 2005


Don't fuck with PBR.
posted by xmutex at 12:43 PM on May 18, 2005


This is absurd, the guy wasn't even an Anheuser-Busch employee -- he worked in some distributors warehouse. He wasn't wearing a uniform or acting in an official capacity. There is no way this can be construed a conflict of interest.

The second linked post has what is probably the key part of this story: "The son-in-law of the distributor's majority shareholder also was at the bar, and offered twice to buy him a Budweiser, but Hopkins turned it down both times."

I'm thinking Mr. Hopkins has a lucrative settlement to look forward to.
posted by cedar at 12:43 PM on May 18, 2005


But if you just got fired/laid-off, are you going to go find a lawyer at $500/hour to sue

If only there were lawyers who would take cases on a contingency basis!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2005


Works on retainer? No, money down!
posted by trey at 12:47 PM on May 18, 2005


Sometimes you want a Coors Light and sometimes you want a Lord Killrothington's Organic Triple Bock Raspberry Pilsner handcrafted in the Catskills by dudes with long tangled beards and thick-ass calves who wear shorts 10 months out of the year, I have never found a conflict in that.
/Booze Aficionado

On topic: This is gonna boomerang on the distributors, as an early face saving move I suggest they hire the guy back and just say they screwed up 'cause they were pleasantly buzzed on ice cold Buds.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:48 PM on May 18, 2005 [1 favorite]


They both taste like shit so what's the problem? He wasn't funnelling his paychecks back into the corporate coffers?
posted by fenriq at 12:49 PM on May 18, 2005


american beer = weasel piss
posted by telstar at 12:52 PM on May 18, 2005


It would be interesting to see what would result in a "right to work" state, where employment is usually terminable at any time by either party (employer or employee) for any reason or for no reason at all, or some language to that effect. (IANAL.) I could be mistaken, but I think some kinds of wrongful-discharge lawsuits are heard in court even in such states.

In Hopkins' case, I'd be willing to bet that he's already choosing among various offers to represent him (on a contingency basis) that materialized about five minutes after this hit the AP newswire. And I wouldn't be surprised if the distributor chooses to settle out of court with the terms undisclosable by either party. This publicity is embarrassing to them.
posted by alumshubby at 12:55 PM on May 18, 2005


This is a privately owned beer distributor, not Anhauser Busch.

According to another article: "Two weeks prior to the firing, however, he had been demoted from warehouse supervisor to warehouse worker."
posted by dchase at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2005


american beer = weasel piss

Can I assume you mean American macrobrews, telstar?

If not, I can recommend some darn fine micros in your area.
posted by gurple at 1:03 PM on May 18, 2005


Hey, divine_wino, I'm such a beer freak, I had to google "Lord Killrothington's Organic Triple Bock Raspberry Pilsner" just to make sure you had made it up.

On topic, beer distributors are run like the mob. Sometimes, the are the mob. I'm not suprised that one of them is acting like an ass. I hope they get the pants sued off them.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:23 PM on May 18, 2005


Sometimes you want a Coors Light and sometimes you want a Lord Killrothington's Organic Triple Bock Raspberry Pilsner handcrafted in the Catskills by dudes with long tangled beards and thick-ass calves who wear shorts 10 months out of the year, I have never found a conflict in that.

You're my real daddy, aren't you?
posted by jonmc at 1:25 PM on May 18, 2005


Lord Killrothington's always seems a tad underhopped, to me.
posted by gurple at 1:29 PM on May 18, 2005


Don't fuck with PBR.

PBR tastes like bicycle chain grease diluted in foamy water. In general, I worry about any beverage that can only be tolerated by drinking it quickly while ice-cold.
posted by ladd at 1:37 PM on May 18, 2005


And as xmutex points out it's pretty much useless for fucking, as well.
posted by gurple at 1:40 PM on May 18, 2005


You know Jon me lad, I like to think I'ma little bit the daddy of everyone who has ever just purely enjoyed going out and getting good and shit in the sink drunk.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:41 PM on May 18, 2005


That. wasn't. the. sink.
posted by jonmc at 1:43 PM on May 18, 2005


It never is, it never fucking is.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:44 PM on May 18, 2005


Can I assume you mean American macrobrews, telstar?

Yep, bud, coors, miller, that's what I meant.

Microbrews are a whole 'nother story. Sometimes skillfully brewed, but I find that many US microbrewers tend to add too much in the way of bittering hops. Many brewers do seem to be moving away from that trend, thankfully. Time to put in a good word for the Pyramid beweries in the Bay Area, and their Beer:30 happy-hour promotion in which one can get 30 oz of as many as 5 different tasty microbews for $3.30. Boo-yah!
posted by telstar at 1:49 PM on May 18, 2005


Yep, bud, coors, miller,

telstar, those beers are purpose-built. and the purpose is quick cheap inebriation, and in that sense they're an utter success.
posted by jonmc at 1:51 PM on May 18, 2005


It would be interesting to see what would result in a "right to work" state, where employment is usually terminable at any time by either party (employer or employee) for any reason or for no reason at all, or some language to that effect.

(slightly off topic) alumshubby, "right to work" states are actually those in which employees may not be forced to join or pay dues to a union. The concept you're referring to are "at will" states. In such states, the general rule is that anyone can be fired at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. There are always numerous exceptions, including: Some states, like Colorado, have other miscellaneous protections (California is well known for its pro-employee laws). However, I'm fairly confident that in most "at will" states, an employee could (legally) be terminated for purchasing a competitor's product (remember -- any reason or no reason at all). Such a decision is bound to be stupid, heartless, and deplorable. But not illegal.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:52 PM on May 18, 2005


jonmc writes " You're my real daddy, aren't you?"

Come to the Dark Beer Side, jonmc.

(And feel the Force of Star Wars viral marketing wherever you and your 'droids go.)
posted by orthogonality at 1:52 PM on May 18, 2005


orthogonality: i drink plenty of dark beer, too. I was just (again) noting the Divine Wino's tendency to articulate my point of view.
posted by jonmc at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2005


telstar, those beers are purpose-built. and the purpose is quick cheap inebriation, and in that sense they're an utter success.

They do that job well. But they also create a monoculture -- only a few beer companies were large enough to survive prohibition through other revenue sources. The bland, inebriation-targeted brews that they produce are now just about all you can get in most of America, and in other parts of the world, too.

They produce those beers because they're cheap beers to produce, and because their marketing machine is so strong that they've made it very difficult to sell anything else. America had a pretty thriving beer culture before Prohibition. Now it has really good Bud ads.
posted by gurple at 2:00 PM on May 18, 2005


... and, I should hasten to add, a thriving microbrew industry. But nothing compared to what it could be (and hopefully will be, eventually)
posted by gurple at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2005


I am going to go home and have a beer, rather than get into this donnybrook. Love to all.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:03 PM on May 18, 2005


"Sometimes skillfully brewed, but I find that many US microbrewers tend to add too much in the way of bittering hops."

By my understanding, the love of big hops is a West Coast thing. Maybe try some East Coast beers, but I don't know what East Coast beers make the trip west.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:08 PM on May 18, 2005


There are very few east coast beers sold out west. Sam Adams doesn't count. Harpoon/Catamount are nowhere to be found. Blackened Voodoo shows up every once in a while, at Cajun restaurants. No Magic Hat at all.

I went to school back east and I'm a bit nostalgic for those old favorites.

There are west coast beers to be had that aren't hoppy, though. Among the big ones, Gordon Biersch comes to mind. Rogue has a few milder ones, too.
posted by gurple at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2005


"This is a privately owned beer distributor, not Anhauser (sic) Busch."

Not that it makes a whole hell of a lot of difference, but who the f* d'ya think OWNS "American Eagle" distribution? Y'ever see the logo on the label of a Bud? Dur.

Drinking Coors or Bud or Miller do serve a purpose in life. It's soda pop for us Germans. PBR is just as good as any of those.

Now, Milwaukee's Best scares me.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:14 PM on May 18, 2005


PBR is, to my taste, so bad it's good. Thick and malty, chalky, head-less to the point of flatness, not a shadow of hops flavor, and lets not forget the skull-pounding hangover.

Strangely, it seems to be one of the few american beers served on tap in many microbrew-heavy pubs.

Once or twice a year (probably a weather thing) I seek out and destroy my liver with good ole' PBR.
posted by telstar at 2:41 PM on May 18, 2005


"Lord Killrothington's Organic Triple Bock Raspberry Pilsner"

While not a member of the gentry, my microbrewer hubby is currently a brewing a batch that is pretty close to that description....I'm hoping it tastes as good as it sounds. We can't seem to get Framboizenbier here, so we're trying to duplicate it.
posted by dejah420 at 2:42 PM on May 18, 2005


In general, I worry about any beverage that can only be tolerated by drinking it quickly while ice-cold.

Hey, ladd, while you're busy worryin', you wanna grab me that bottle of Stoli outta my freezer and pour me a shot of it? Thanks.
posted by gompa at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2005


Strangely, it seems to be one of the few american beers served on tap in many microbrew-heavy pubs.

PBR, the modern PBR, is entirely a marketing phenomenon. They contract out the actual brewing -- I think Miller does it, but I can't remember for sure. Anyway, they've got an absolutely phenomenal marketing campaign. Music sponsorship, lots of word-of-mouth, no actual overt ads.

Somehow, they've managed to get people to think that PBR is different from any other macrobrew. They're different, all right -- they're not a beer company at all, just a marketing gimmick.
posted by gurple at 2:49 PM on May 18, 2005


*stumbles in*
*pees on budweiser*
*pops open a red hook E.S.B.*
*stumbles away*

Beelzbubba: You may like my favorite beer, Beezlebuth.
posted by schyler523 at 3:36 PM on May 18, 2005


A beer sounds pretty good right now...
posted by c13 at 3:47 PM on May 18, 2005


For tonights sixer, I bought Bud. Just to be a prick, and cause it was only $5.
posted by jonmc at 3:57 PM on May 18, 2005


Sometimes you want a Coors Light
Er, no, never.
posted by Skeptic at 4:01 PM on May 18, 2005


No Magic Hat at all.

I'm so sorry, man! /hugs you in drunken compassion

Magic Hat #9 is a big favorite of mine. Apricot-flavored beer; who would've thunk?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:44 PM on May 18, 2005


Magic Hat #9 is a big favorite of mine. Apricot-flavored beer; who would've thunk?

There's a brewpub near Union Square where i bought a gallon jug of apricot ale that was delicious. Peach lambics are also pretty delicious. Fruit and beer can go together really well when done right.
posted by jonmc at 5:47 PM on May 18, 2005


God, I need a beer now. Since I moved from Mass. to Seattle I have discovered my love of the HOPS, and I'll never go back to anything that doesn't make my lips pucker. I can't fathom how all the hipsters can swill down PBR and Rainier at bars that have Elysian or McMenamin's or Redhook beers on tap.

I'm gonna go get drunk.
posted by tristeza at 5:47 PM on May 18, 2005


I'm gonna go get drunk.

I'm already halfway there. Wanna go to the 7-11, crank up some AC/DC and shott off bottle rockets?
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on May 18, 2005


Dude, lemme call Chris, he's got fuckin' whippits and his mom's Nova for the weekend.
posted by tristeza at 5:55 PM on May 18, 2005


Freakin' sweet.

*drags funnel, rolling machine, and butterfly knife out of closet*
posted by jonmc at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2005


## sigh ##

I have brewed several brews myself, including Two brews for my wedding. A light hoppy brown ale, and a licking the ashtray stout gone bad.

But do you realise that if marijuana became de-criminalised (even if not fully legalised), we could be having this disagreement over who's bud sucks more...

Wouldn't that RULE?
posted by Balisong at 6:51 PM on May 18, 2005


Balisong, one of my best freinds in highschool experimeted with homebrewing back in the late 80's but he put in too much sugar and the bottles exploded and the caps were embedded in his garage ceileng. or something. My brother-in-law has brewed the occassional nice Oatmeal Stout on occasion, though.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 PM on May 18, 2005


I'll just note that in more than 20 years of Olympic-level boozing, I've never pooped in a sink.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on May 18, 2005


To everyone that thinks this guy hit pay dirt. . . That couldn't be further from the truth. In at will employment, as many have pointed out, you can be fired for just about anything as long as its not for being part of a protected class. But in addition to that, precedent has already been set that as an employee from a company, you are looked at as a representative both on and off the job, so you CAN be fired for doing/saying things that portrait the company in a bad light. Don't believe me? See here. (the rest of his thoughts on at will employment are pretty great, too).

I get a kick out of people who think that they are protected from various absurd things employers can do by some law some where. Many places I have worked, people assume that these imaginary laws exist to protect them from the whim of an employer. And are often amazed when they find out no such protection exists. For example, I could work at a car manufacturer, and during my paid scheduled hours, I can be told to call my senator on an issue I don't agree with or be fired. I could be told to paint my house hot pink, and if I didn't comply, be fired. I only assume that at will employment still exists as it is today is because most employees have no idea how few rights they actually have as an employee.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:33 PM on May 18, 2005


I'll just note that in more than 20 years of Olympic-level boozing, I've never pooped in a sink.

stav, that porcelain vessel at my mom's house was neither a fingerbowl, nor a toilet.
posted by jonmc at 7:40 PM on May 18, 2005


anyone from the Bay Area ever make it to Oakland's Pacific Coast Brewing Co.? Any beer snobs feel like commenting on their brews?
posted by hototogisu at 8:28 PM on May 18, 2005


This thread reads much better while delicately sipping a 1999 Antica Corte Pinot Grigio, with a nice bit of soft brie, pinky finger extended.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:08 PM on May 18, 2005


I'm going to have to mention here just how much I love a good overhopped Western micro. One of my favorites is Nelson Brewing Paddywhack IPA. Dee-licious. For macro swill, both Kokannee and Old Style Pilsner (Molson brewed) are decent and cheap. From the US, I like Red Hook, and from the east, nearly anything from Unibroue.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:13 PM on May 18, 2005


Old Style Pilsner

This fine swill has the added bonus of sporting a label that's one of the best slices of accidental psychedelia I've ever encountered. There are bunny rabbits all over it (though there's only one visible in the linked jpeg), a biplane, even a dude in flowing robes tucking into a medieval feast (bottom right).

Plus, after three or so, your mouth feels like it's coated in genuine Canadian prairie grit. Classic.
posted by gompa at 9:54 PM on May 18, 2005


But do you realise that if marijuana became de-criminalised (even if not fully legalised), we could be having this disagreement over who's bud sucks more...

An opportunity to brew a THC-enhanced beer. You know how hops adds its essense to the final feel and flavor? So too with the cannabis plant, I've heard.
posted by telstar at 12:15 AM on May 19, 2005


Free spam magnet! (email account for you) Compliments the King of Beers. At http://web.synacor.com/login/budweiser
Mine is pabstbluribbon@budweiser.com. : ) Impress your friends. They may even think you work at the brewery. Is a good interface.
Miller, In my opinion, is really bad beer. Am I allowed to sat that. .... cheers.
posted by celerystick at 5:59 AM on May 19, 2005


We've got us some majorly hoppy brews on the East Coast, too. Not to mention some of the best breweries in the world. How about Dogfish Head 60, 90(my personal fave), and 120 Minute IPAs. The 90 Minute is very hoppy, but actually a well balanced beer. In contrast to the dryer, more floral hops in a stereotypical West Coast IPA, the hop profile in the 90 Minute tends towards a fuller, spicier taste. Great, great, beer. In Downington, PA you've got Victory Brewing Company. They make a revved up IPA called Hop Wallop and, IMO, the best imperial stout(although the west coast does represent, with North Coast's Old Rasputin and Stone's Imperial Stout earning high marks), Storm King. There are a handful of other first class breweries in the Mid Atlantic region, but Victory and Dogfish are the standouts.

All that said, my favorite over the top hoppy beer is Stone Ruination, from San Diego, CA.
posted by MjrMjr at 6:30 AM on May 19, 2005


how much I love a good overhopped Western micro.
Are you all under age?
As the beer has a name. Indian Pale Ale. I read the reason this beer is found more on the West Coast is due to the time period the ale was traveled West. Because of its shelf life being longer, the Indian pale beer can be consumed for a longer period than the normally brewed beer. This being a factor when its shipment is a long journey which here was the exploration in the North West.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:32 AM on May 19, 2005


No one is making IPAs for the preservative properties anymore, guy. And thanks to Ford and the brothers Wright, they don't need to.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:22 AM on May 19, 2005


And thanks to Ford and the brothers Wright, they don't need to.
duh! Which is why it has less popularity in other places throughout the US.
I just mentioned the tid bit fact for chewing why it is seen more west than east is all. Guess I should have written a longer paragraph that would have an equal reading time as the time it takes to enjoy drinking your beer down. For your better understanding as I mentioned why it was brewed for the northwest at that period of time.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:24 AM on May 19, 2005


Attention Boston beer drinkers...this just in ...

I received the following e-mail from Harpoon Brewery today:
"Ahoy, mateys! Something very exciting (and big) is blowing in off the Atlantic and is docking right here in Harpoon's back yard this weekend. We wanted to let our friends know about it.

The USS JFK, a US Navy aircraft carrier, is coming into Boston. It will be docked just down the street from our brewery, at the North Jetty, near the Black Falcon Ship Terminal. The Carrier will be open for public tours on Saturday May 21st (8:15 am to 4 pm) and Sunday May 22nd (8:45 am to 5 pm). This is the third time that Boston has been visited by the carrier, the last time being for Sail Boston 2000. Movie buffs will remember the JFK as the backdrop for "Top Gun" (yeah Goose!).

To enhance your visit to the JFK, Harpoon will be operating an outdoor HARPOON BEER GARDEN in our parking lot over the weekend. The brewery will be open for everyone to walk-through and the Beer Garden will give you a place to relax and buy a beer and some food. The hours of operation for the Beer Garden will be on Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm."
posted by ericb at 11:29 AM on May 19, 2005


Oof, I'm moving from NY to Seattle in a few months and all this talk of no east coast beers out there is really getting me down. I guess I couldn't expect to find Blue Point on tap out there (a real treat if you've ever had it).

Lucky for me, I loves me some Ballard Bitter. But I'm going to miss my Brooklyn Brown.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:50 PM on May 20, 2005


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