FORGET JOE BIDEN, OBAMA’S NEW RUNNING MATE IS CRAFT BEER
By Keola Warren x @unclekeola
Barack Obama has decided that the key to America’s heart is through her stomach…with an ice-cold beer. President Obama has been on the campaign trail promoting his ‘every-guy’ appeal while also making pit stops in various sports bars and pubs along the way, all while raising a frosted mug of refreshment to voters and photographers alike.
So why beer? What makes beer the key to Obama’s success? Joe Sixpack of the Philadelphia Daily News compiled an interesting data chart entitled Blue States, Brew States that attempts to answer this question. Blue States, Brew States calculates the density of breweries, both national and regional, as well as microbrews and brew pubs per square mile among the fifty states and the District of Columbia. This chart also color codes each state as to whether it was won by President Obama or John McCain in 2008. The 2008 results were staggering as “Obama received the majority of his support from the states with the highest concentration of breweries.”
The high density of breweries in these states is largely associated with the burgeoning craft beer movement. The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as “small, independent, and traditional.” The craft beer movement is a pivotal turning point for the presidential campaign in 2012 because of the demographics. According to Beveragemedia.com, “By volume, 80% of craft beer was enjoyed by white (non-Hispanic) consumers, over half of them in the 21-44 year age bracket. More than 75% earned at least $50,000 a year, and 43% were college-educated,” which is a demographic that President Obama has struggled to secure in his campaign. Both Obama and Mitt Romney realize that this specific demographic could help swing the election in 2012.
President Obama’s beverage strategy is two-fold. It is first a way to personify him as an average Joe who enjoys a good beer, and secondly to alienate Mitt Romney from the general public because he does not drink alcohol. Mitt Romney is a devout Mormon and his faith prevents him from imbibing. It is a wonderful tactic that has been dubbed the Alcohol Advantage and has exemplified what many in Obama’s camp have called the “weirdness” of Mitt Romney. But seriously, would you rather have a beer with Obama or a Perrier with Romney? It’s kind of a silly question right?!
So Obama launched head first into his craft beer campaign by, apparently, buying a home brewing kit and becoming the first president to brew beer in the White House. Obama helped brew the White House Honey Brown Ale, which makes use of honey that is sourced from Michelle Obama’s bee-hive on the South Lawn. Some people doubted that the President really made beer and many were calling for the recipe in order to validate these claims. The White House finally gave in to the demands of the public and published the recipe, which you can here.
It will be very interesting to see how craft beer and the Alcohol Advantage will be woven into the coming elections. The fact that craft beer has had such an impact on the elections already is a testament to how food and beverage are rooted in the heart of the American culture. Your beverage of choice may have never been such a clear line in the sand. Forget Joe Biden, Obama’s new running mate is craft beer.