Samuel Adams brewer Boston Beer Co. has refused to sponsor the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Although they sponsored the event in the past, a recent decision to exclude gay participants prompted the brewery to make a bold statement.
The Allied Veterans War Council, who organizes the event, recently announced that a group of gay veterans are not welcome to march in the parade. As reported by Boston Magazine, the council blames a lack of communication with MassEquality, which supports the gay veterans.
In response to the announcement, Club Café owners Frank Ribaudo and Jim Morgrage urged Sam Adams to pull their sponsorship of the parade:
“Club Café is very disappointed that Sam Adams does not understand that the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade continue to demonstrate that they do not respect LGBT Irish Americans… “
Along with their statement, Ribaudo and Morgrage threatened to remove all Sam Adams products from their cafe. Although it is unclear whether the statement reached Boston Beer Co. officials, the company released their own statement shortly thereafter:
“… our namesake, Samuel Adams, was a staunch defender of free speech and we support that ideal… we will continue to evaluate each organization and event before making additional contributions.”
The company hoped the controversy would be resolved before the parade. However, they admit a compromise is not likely at this time:
“We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade. But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible.”
The Boston Herald reports that Sam Adams “has pulled its sponsorship” from the planned parade.
The Boston Beer Co. created Samuel Adams Boston Lager in 1984, using a family beer recipe from the 1800s. Founder Jim Koch said he chose the name, as Adams is “the father of the American Revolution.” He also notes that Adams also brewed beer using an old family recipe.
Although the company has expanded to include facilities in Cincinnati and Pennsylvania, Koch reportedly taste tests every batch of beer before distribution.
Discussions between MassEquality and the Allied Veterans War Council are expected to continue. However, it is uncertain if a compromise will be reached. If the gay veterans are unable to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, they will be included in the Peace Parade.
The Peace Parade is organized by Boston Pride and Veterans for Peace. Samuel Adams has been a strong supporter and sponsor of the Peace Parade.
[Image via Shutterstock]