I’ve been actively searching the internet recently trying to keep track of every mention of FTH and our bills in the media. Positive stories are encouraging, and if anything negative surfaces, I want to address it quickly. You can always click on the “More FTH News” link (on the right, under News & Announcements) from any page on our site to get to our news archive. That has links to every story we know of.
Overall the press has been very positive. It seems like most people understand we are trying to bring about progressive change for Alabama, not get high schoolers drunk and put them on the road.
My news searches led me to discover we have gotten quite a bit of attention from bloggers. Mostly in Alabama of course, but even a few outside the state. Their support is appreciated, and a few have interesting commentary. So I have decided to collect the links and post them to the FTH blog for those of you who may be interested. In a few cases, I will append my own comments to make a point in response to the bloggers.
First up, a DC blog called “To The People”:
He chuckles at a quote attributed to me in a recent Huntsville Times story. Which opens the door for me to explain an important point. I’ve learned during the course of the FTH campaign that news articles rarely contain exact quotations of what people in the article said. Rather, what they do is jot down a few notes about the gist of your comments, then make up a couple sentences to summarize and put quotes around it.
FWIW, I did NOT say the state is losing “thousands of dollars” in tax revenue. What I actually said at the public hearing on the House bill is that “thousands of Alabamians” travel to neighboring states to buy these beers, and those sales should be taking place in Alabama. An important distinction, as I have no way of knowing just how much tax money is ending up in neighboring states because of AL’s oppressive alcohol laws.
Next up, a long-time supporter of the cause, Dan of “Between the Links”:
You’ll notice he has an entire category on his blog devoted to Free The Hops, and he’s been posting about our progress for over a year. There is one thing in particular in the above post I’d like to address. A quote from Dan:
I still have a problem with this bill because it still maintains state-control over the amount of alcohol you can have in a beer. The new standards, if the legislation passes the legislature and is signed by the governor, will allow an ABV of 14.9%… By changing the laws to allow the 14.9%, the state is essentially saying, “We can still tell you what you can and can’t drink.”
I feel the same way. It makes me angry that we will have any limit at all on beer. After all, the limit our bill seeks to establish doesn’t accomplish anything worthwhile. It does literally nothing but exclude a handful of extreme beers from Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, and maybe one or two other experimental beers. All products that are exceptionally expensive (the $100+ price tag on SA Utopias has been widely reported in the national media), and thus should not give the anti-alcohol opposition anything to fear. No high schooler in AL is going to shell out $100 on a 25% ABV beer.
Fortunately, though I may be an arm-chair idealist, when I start working to accomplish a goal I am utterly utilitarian. While the 14.9% limit angers the idealist in me, the utilitarian in me knows it will help get our bill passed, so it’s a compromise worth making. Even though you and I know there is nothing to fear from 15% or 16% beer, those are scary numbers for people who know nothing about beer. They’re afraid that without a limit Budweiser will come along with a 20% ABV beer that looks and tastes like Bud Light, and at the same price point, so the high schoolers can go out and get rip-roaring drunk on just a couple of beers. Never mind that this has never happened in other states with no limit; fear does a great job of ignoring facts.
So, we put the limit in there, and it will help our bill become law, and it makes me a little angry to have to compromise, but that anger is completely drowned out by the happiness inspired by the thought of being able to buy a case of Bigfoot at Costco next winter.
Next, “A Bama Blog” by Lee P:
Lee also comments on the recent Huntsville Times story, and takes issue with a quote from our Senate sponsor, Parker Griffith. He thinks it’s too snooty to describe Huntsville as sophisticated and say the city should have more specialty beer because of the “cosmopolitan” population.
I’m a little wary of beer heading down the path of wine, where some people are afraid to order certain bottles at a restaurant for fear of looking unsophisticated. I hope beer is always friendlier and less snooty than wine. But on the other hand, beer does not get the respect it deserves. There are craft beers just as fine and complex as any wine on earth, yet wine continues to enjoy the rep of being something that “cultured” people drink while beer is still widely viewed as something Bubba uses to get drunk at the ball game. Part of the FTH campaign is elevating the image of beer in Alabama, and I think Senator Griffith’s comments were spot on. The beers we’re trying to bring to Alabama appeal to intelligent, well-educated people. And understanding that fact encourages legislators to vote for our bill. Which is a good thing.
And finally, a few more honorable mentions:
Thanks, bloggers. We appreciate all the support. Alabama is going to see better beer on its retailers’ shelves this year.