News From the Front

Sons of Bitches Abound

To paraphrase Apocalypse Now, the bullshit piles up so fast you need wings to stay above it. In case you haven’t heard, the Colorado’s Brewers Guild, a cabal of local microbrewers, have voted as a group (with a few dissensions) against supporting Blake Harrison’s noble attempt to crush the evil blue laws that keep us from visiting the liquor store on Sunday.

It doesn’t seem logical. After all, the repeal of the blue law would benefit the microbrewers because they don’t produce 3.2% beer, the only beer grocery stores can sell on Sunday. So why did they vote against it? (Got your wings on? You’re going to need ‘em.) Because, the way they figure it, if the law passes, a pro-drinking momentum would build up (Heaven forbid) and the next thing you know grocery stores will want to sell wine, liquor and full strength beer, and those stores are less likely to carry the microbrewers’ products than the smaller liquors stores who swear they will be driven out of business if they’re allowed to sell booze on Sunday. Also, the microbreweries are concerned the liquors stores that sell their brew will take business away their their bars on game day.

Did you get that? Good. Now pick up the phone and give me a call because I’m having a hard time getting a handle on it. Why would the smaller liquor stores go out of business because they can sell on Sunday? Even the liquor stores are having a hard time explaining why, unless it’s because they’d refuse to open.

What it comes down to is everyone is rabidly concerned about their own selfish interests to the degree they’ve lost sight of what makes you, their customers happy. I’m a big believer in supporting local businesses, but it’s hard to think globally and drink locally when the very people that produce beer seem interested in restricting our right to drink it. I personally will not buy a local microbrew (aside from the dissenters’) until they start acting like they’re part of the community and not a gang of out-of-town pickpockets.

The largest of the microbreweries, the Wynkoop, also seems to have a problem with the dissemination of independent thought. If you’ve been in there lately you may have noticed the dozens of different free publications that used to fill their foyer have vanished, I’m assuming into the dumpster. And they’re not coming back. When asked why the sudden crackdown, a staff member explained “it was too cluttered and dirty.” What makes it all the more strange is Wynkoop advertises in the most prominent of the free pubs, including Westword, Go-Go and, yes, Modern Drunkard. Go figure.

Is there any hope at all in this oncoming night of neo-prohibitionism? Well, a little. The little town of Tallmadge, Ohio recently ended prohibition. For more than 80 years, since national prohibition was enacted in 1920, the town has been bone dry until voters recently decided no booze was not enough. One courageous local businessman even has plans for a microbrewery. Modern Drunkard welcomes Tallmadge back to the world of drinking.

Denver’s microbrewers could take a lesson from them.

–Frank Kelly Rich

Views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Modern Drunkard staff or publisher. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to deny everything. Your Honor, I was never even near the place and, what’s more, those are not my trousers and those are most assuredly not my friends. They are merely a drunken and surly gang of hitchhikers I made the terrible, terrible mistake of giving a lift. I promise to be good. Really. I swear.