Before we get started, I intentionally excluded links to the story in question because it is a marketing ploy and I’m trying not to be a sucker.
Whether you see the Washington Times as a right-wing mouth piece or just a second-tier newspaper, you have to admit they made a splash this week when they published a press release from a marketer claiming to be a craft brewer calling for a Budweiser boycott. Because some beer bloggers are at least as gullible as the Washington Times, they reported what they found in their beer news feeds, both without thinking and without getting any background.
William “citizen” Kelly, the “small brewer” who called for the boycott has yet to brew a batch of beer, although he has had boycott tee shirts for sale since Jan. 25 (in case you don’t follow sports, the Super Bowl was Feb. 5). They’re for sale now.
Kelly is an a.m. radio jock and a self-proclaimed senior media strategist, TV Producer, entertainment critic, commentator and author. All of these are according to William Kelly. I got bored trying to verify it independently. Interestingly, though, “Brewer” isn’t even one of his fake occupations.
He also looks as if he could use a smack.
Kelly may be a dick, but at least he’s not a moron. The moron is Bradford Richardson (this link is here in case you wanna troll him on Twitter) at the Washington Times. I have put approximately 12 minutes into researching Kelly’s background and claims, which apparently is more time than many beer writers had. My bullshit detector went off what I reached all the way down to the seventh sentence in the story. In it, Kelly recommends drinking MillerCoors instead of Budweiser. What real craft beer guy would do that?
From there, I wanted to see what I could find out about the purported “Kelly’s Irish Red” beer and typed “Citizen Kelly’s” into the search bar. That was all the research it took to see that this was a marketing scam aimed at selling a brand. Apparently, though, that much research was too much for Bradford who was perfectly happy to retype the release Kelly sent and go buy himself another blue blazer.
Bradford totally is a mook. To be fair, I guess he could have known for a fact that he was providing free advertising to Citizen Kelly or (and I hope to Christ this isn’t true) actually gotten cash to run this pretend reportage. Assuming he’s too dumb to know better simply is the kindest interpretation.
This may be a little inside baseball, but press releases are scattershot. Often they are sent out to as many news outlets as have email accounts. The “boycott” release probably was ignored by about a thousand other outlets, but seized upon by idiots and re-blogged by the lazy and the suckers.
I have made huge mistakes on newspaper front pages, and I’ve made factual errors by leaping to false conclusions, but I never have let a marketing slob make a mook out of me. As beer writers, readers and consumers we have to take a second and think about what makes sense before we pass it along. Craft beer is hot and getting hotter. Everyone from Wal-Mart to Citizen Kelly is trying to cash in without effort or real investment. Use this story as a kind of barometer for beer bullshit (and bullshit generally). Any place that reported the “boycott” did zero fact checking and likely does zero fact checking on everything.
This isn’t politics. If you’re reading this and if you have read elsewhere about the boycott it is because you care about beer and beer culture. Here is the only fact you need: Scumbags are trying to make you suckers so they can cut into your wallet and someone else’s market share.
I was enraged when my wife said she had heard about the “boycott.” This Citizen Kelly fucker didn’t succeed in his marketing campaign because he was a dick, and as a mook, Bradford Richardson obviously is too stupid to help himself. The real villains in this story are the actual beer enthusiasts (and especially my fellow bloggers) who didn’t have the sense to take a second to smell the bullshit. It’s a fucking crime. Stop fighting about beer.
Drink what you like and be happy.