Sunday, January 30, 2011

Southern Beverage and Anheuser-Busch raised their game in 2007. Coincidence?

Clarion-Ledger reporter Elizabeth Crisp attempts to shed some light on the beer debate:

"This year, the legislature will consider a few bills that aim to increase the flow – so to speak – of beer in Mississippi.
But as they have in years past, it seems those bills are again heading toward failure.
Despite what appears to be an overwhelming support for the legislation among business owners and consumers, lawmakers are still hesitant to take up bills that appears “pro-alcohol” in a state where blue laws are the norm....

Many, including Republicans Sen. Dean Kirby and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, seem hesitant to even put the issue up for a vote in committee or on the floor.
So what are your thoughts on the beer issue?" blog post

The political reporter for the state newspaper might try digging through some campaign finance reports, or better yet, read this website (Sorry, I just had to write that. ;-) ) since JJ documented last week the money trail from Anheuser-Busch to Senate Finance Committee Chairman and the man responsible for killing these beer-friendly bills, Dean Kirby.

The Budweiser lobby in Mississippi consists of several players: Anheuser-Busch, Lobbyist Beth Clay and her firm, and Capitol Advocacy Group, a PAC created by Ms. Clay and funded by AB. However, there is another serious player: Southern Beverage, which is AB's distributor. Southern Beverage has not one, not two, but three lobbyists and not just any lobbyists: Clare Hester, John Lundy, and Clifford Thompson. All super-lobbyists and two, Ms. Hester and Mr. Lundy, are both members of Capitol Resources Group (CRG), Henry Barbour's firm. A review of campaign finance reports reveals how much money Southern Beverage has paid to its lobbying team:

2010: Not available.
2009: Clifford Thompson: $6,750, CRG: $60,000
2008: Clifford Thompson: $6,750, CRG: $60,000
2007: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000, CRG: $60,000
2006: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000
2005: Clifford Thompson: $6,500
2004: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000
2003: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000
2002: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000
2001: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000
2000: Clifford Thompson: $6,500, Al Sage: $3,000

A pattern emerges when reading these reports: Southern Beverage, Anhueser-Busch, and Capitol Advocacy Group did not spend much money in Mississippi politics until 2007. Southern Beverages spending on lobbyist jumped from $9,000 a year to nearly $67,000 in 2007 and has remained at that level. This team includes those some would argue are the two top lobbyists in Mississippi. A reexamination of the money trail documented last week shows the same pattern: AB gave little money to PAC's or Senator Kirby prior to 2007. Suddenly Anheuser-Busch was donating $10-20,000 per year to Capitol Advocacy Group. CAG is then making large donations to Senator Kirby.

Is there any particular reason why Anheuser-Busch and Southern Beverage started dropping money bombs and hiring the top lobbyists in 2007? These activities just happened to start taking place right before newly-elected State Senator David Baria began introducing "craft" beer-friendly legislation in the 2008 session? Anheuser-Bush and Southern Beverage have a huge market share in Mississippi and anything affecting said market share is going to draw their undivided attention. The increase in donations by Anheuser-Busch and its PAC to Senator Kirby began after the 2007 elections and right before the 2008 session. Meanwhile, Senator Kirby publicly states he will not allow any "craft" beer legislation to receive a hearing or vote in his committee. Coincidence?


KaptKangaroo said...

She does not know a thing about the beer industry, this I assure you.

Anonymous said...

I know I'll probably be shot down cause some folks are really passionate about this, but I just don't get it. Its beer. Isn't there something a little more important that the legislature could be doing while in session? We have a crime problem and I don't get why beer is so important. Don't mean to offend anyone, I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

It is the fact that Business is co-opting the legislative process to prevent this bill while supporting the very efforts of Raise Your Pints who are bringing the legislation to the table.

You can't have it both ways. Read.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of the Raise Your Pints position. But some people are looking at the money issue simplisticly.

First, Southern Beverage would profit if the bill passed (the one raising the cap to 8% alcohol). There are any number of IPA's (for example) that Southern Beverage would sell if the bill passed.

Second, there are other reasons brewers and distributors make political donations, first among them TO PREVENT an increase in the excise tax on beer, something tax-hungry politicians constantly try to do.

So, it's not all black and white. And you can't take a single issue and imagine a quid-pro-quo.

Anonymous said...

in re: January 31, 2011 3:23 PM

First of all you are looking at this in an overly simplistic manner. Do you know what the three tier distribution system is? Google is your friend. Do you understand the complexities of shelf space management (category management)? Do you know what A/B's share is in MS? Do you know what it used to be? Do you know how much shelf space they have lost in the last few years due to the fragmentation of consumer demand?

Tell me how A/B and SB would be able to bring in off brands. Do you know anything about the master distributorship agreements on the A/B side? Do you? What brands can they distribute? Hmmm. Go read up.

Why would Bud want to bring in other brands? They don't. Bud & BL are HUGE. If you were to bring in a bunch of micro brews and craft beers where do you think the space is going to come from? Hmmmm. You bring in 40 six packs, then, 40 six packs have to go.

What brand has been in decline for YEARS and continues to decline? Bud. You think they want to lose more space for their flagship to additional brands that only fragment the marketplace?

Go take a look at your local grocery some time. It was a few years back that the craft beers BEGAN to make inroads here. Hmmm, about 2007. The space for these brands didn't just magically appear, the space came from existing products. Cap City prospered because they have flexible distribution arrangements allowing them to bring in competing brands under one house. At best, Bud would introduce new products to save the space, but we all remember Tequiza right? It sat on the shelf so long, the product went out of date.

Finally, lets put this into the physical distribution realm. How do you think A/B and/or SB is going to distribute these products when their preference and their profit margins are dependent upon ONE STOP a week and a huge drop.

You simpleton. It is not black and white, it is actually very complex. Highly complex for someone who pretends to understand the complexities of WHY they would be preventing legislation against craft beers while schmoozing the RYP crowd.

And finally, if one side were investing so much, why isn't the Malt Beverage Association screaming about taxes? Sheesh!

OK, your turn. I have simplified this down to a few of the reasons why, if you have other questions, please feel free to pose them.

Anonymous said...

Discover channel has a show entitled, "How Beer Saved the World." Very entertaining documentary! I watched it last night.

Don't know if they will air again soon, but here it the latest link....


Anonymous said...

Beer saved the world. Yet again, another strawman. Keep trying. The fact is, beer in MS is a dirty business. Keep trying to put up A/B as a savior. Oh are you trying to equate religion and Budweiser? Hmmm...

Does Mr. Kirby know you are taking the risk of posting the crap you claim?

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS