Posted by: jeanmurin | August 2, 2009

Beer Summit from a PR Standpoint

Although many people are questioning Barack Obama’s involvement in the Gates vs. Crowley incident that has taken the media by storm, I would like to comment on the beverage selection: an essential component of the Beer Summit.

This particular angle of the story caught my eye while I was reading the Metro on my way to work last week. The front page declared that the President would drink a Bud Light, Crowley would have a Blue Moon and Gates would either have a Becks or a Red Stripe. As it turns out, Gates has a Sam Adams Light but Obama did enjoy a Bud Light. 

When I arrived at work, one of our interns remarked that she was disappointed by Obama’s choice of beverage. She said something along the lines of, “Bud Light? Seriously? Someone find this man a good, local microbrewery.” 

I’m not sure if she realized how important (albeit fluffy) this detail of the entire situation was. Obama probably enjoys a classier (sorry, Bud Light) beer when in the comfort of his massive White home, but the fact that the American public was anxious to hear what kind of beer he would have meant his communications team had some thinking to do.

Bud Light is a safe, middle-of-the-road beer. It’s a well-established brand associated with deep-rooted American values and tradition. Regular Budweiser might be too manly, PBR is definitely too cheap, and a fancy micro-brew like UFO might seem pretentious. 

From a public relations point of view, I think Bud Light was a solid choice. That, and he didn’t have to put a piece of fruit in his beer and in turn avoided a whole slew of late night talk show jokes.



  1. Good point. Just like the President makes policy decisions with the media reaction in mind, he must also make a beer selection with the media reaction in mind.

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