A more in depth look at payola

Reads 3731 • Replies 27 • Started Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:22:48 PM CT

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beers 2900 º places 125 º 14:22 Wed 2/15/2012

Check it out. Please click through if you’re interested in more...

Last week, Tommy Hunter, the Washington, DC representative for Flying Dog, tweeted that his brewery had lost a draft line to Pilsner Urquell, a brand owned by Miller Coors. Hunter accused MillerCoors of paying the unnamed bar or restaurant to sell Pilsner Urquell at the expense of Flying Dog. This is a practice known colloquially as payola, a term that comes from the days when record companies would pay radio stations to play their artists. The day after making the accusation, Hunter apologized for what he had written, and he deleted the two offending messages, but by then the story had spread, as Beernews.org picked up the story, which led to a number of industry members to comment via Twitter.

Courtesy of BeerNews.org
DCBeer spoke to numerous distributors, bar managers, beer directors, and beer representatives for this article. Each of these individuals requested anonymity, which we granted to them. Where possible, the claims of these sources were verified by other sources. The information from the industry sources we talked to paints a disturbing and at times illegal picture of the DC beer market.


places 10 º 14:40 Wed 2/15/2012

Doesn’t happen at my bar but it’s not uncommon in La.

beers 10856 º places 22 º 15:49 Wed 2/15/2012

It happens in VA.

beers 2900 º places 125 º 15:59 Wed 2/15/2012

Why isn’t anything done? Why litigate over silly label colors and tap handles when getting the law to enforce the law here would do so much much good for the entire community?

beers 2 º 16:08 Wed 2/15/2012

Its very much illegal to do something like this in Idaho where we are but it still happens.

I’m a little surprised that Flying Dog was aware enough of their accounts to know that one handle was lost.

beers 2452 º places 182 º 16:22 Wed 2/15/2012

Smaller brewers are with the same distributors as the big guys. Make a stink, and you might burn your bridges with the people that sell your beer. You have to tread very carefully.

beers 10856 º places 22 º 16:30 Wed 2/15/2012

The problem with payola, particularly for craft brewers and craft houses, is that if it is looked at more closely, the inevitable result will be to legalize it instead of tightening enforcement of existing regulations. Right-wing economists, and their lobbying arms will ask, "Why shouldn’t it be legal?"

beers 1706 º places 70 º 16:34 Wed 2/15/2012

We just had the local liquor board do a series of stings/investigations on this, as it was rampant here. It still likely is, but it’s much less out in the open now.

16:41 Wed 2/15/2012

I see individual distributors engaging in this practice opposed to brands like AB as a whole.

beers 1836 º places 106 º 16:50 Wed 2/15/2012

One of the homebrewers in Nashville is an Emmy award winning news director, maybe we can get him to investigate it in our neck of the woods.

beers 353 º places 60 º 17:10 Wed 2/15/2012

and we don’t think craft beer will ever take the dinosaur road. Eternal vigilance is the only opposition to these pr*cks.