Business and politics make a lousy cocktail

A year ago, liquor stores in the Northland refused to sell a local brew because the brewery’s owners were against sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters; bikers are turning their ire to Harley Davidson because it’s trying to avoid the tariff war costs and angering the president, and now Sam Adams beer is in the gunsights of opponents of the White House.

In New Jersey last week, Jim Koch, the boss at Boston Brewing Company, praised the president because, he said, the tax cut for the wealthy will help his company.

“Now we have a level playing field, and we’re going to kick their ass,” Koch said.

It seems like a legitimate business point to make, especially considering that 85 percent of the beer made in the United States comes from companies owned by foreign investors.

But, on this day when we celebrate the democratic process, it’s becoming increasingly risky for business owners to participate.

The pushback to Sam Adams Beer, pretty much the official beer of the Colonies, was fierce, immediate, and potentially damaging.

Joseph Curtatone, the mayor of Sommerville, Boston’s neighbor, vowed never to drink Sam Adams beer again.

The local brewery already had enough problems. Sales are way off and the company missed its earnings target. People are increasingly turning to other alcohol.

But that’s a matter of taste, not politics.

Social media picked up Curtatone’s suggestion and the boycott of a beer is picking up steam.

Predictably, calm voices were hard to find in a Boston Globe article this morning on the dust-up, except for one.

I was very disappointed to hear Koch express those feelings. Sam Adams the man was a real patriot but the owner of his eponymous beer, meh, not so much. I like the biz guy Koch and his back story more than I care for his politics. He had an opportunity to make a great impression and stand up for Americans the way Sam did. He wasted it.

Having said that, boycotting is a tough sell. It hurts lots of people beyond the idiot owner.

Curtatone made some good points but unless each of us here is going to burn our Pats gear and not ever watch Brady throw a toss because Brady, Belicheck and Kraft love herr Drumpf, maybe we should be more pragmatic. Let’s focus our ire on Trump and his Republican congressional cohorts in November.

Increasingly, elections aren’t just confined to Election Day. They’re held in the supermarket and liquor stores when people penalize or reward companies for their role in the political debate of the day.