With a unanimous vote, the North Carolina State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission sided with public health advocates and denied a petition from the City of Raleigh to brand its new amphitheater with Bud Light.
The Raleigh City Council’s meetings with a beer producer and a local distributor outraged advocates concerned with alcohol-related harm and underage drinking from across North Carolina and the country. Anheuser-Busch InBev, makers of Bud Light, had agreed to pay the City $300,000 a year to name the new entertainment venue after the beer brand, in violation of the state’s own alcohol advertising policy. InBev and the city had petitioned the state ABC for a waiver.
The ABC commissioners considered testimony from a number of advocates including Ronald E. Bogle, retired Superior Court Judge, Phil Mooring, executive director of Families in Action, Reverend Mark H. Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Dylan Mulrooney-Jones, project coordinator North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative, as well as youth from Youth Empowered Solutions. State ABC Chairman Jon Williams noted that the Commission had been “overwhelmed” with responses in opposition to the petition from across North Carolina and across the nation.
“By handing this defeat to the City of Raleigh and Anheuser-Busch InBev, the entertainment facility will remain a family-friendly venue,” stated Michael Scippa, public affairs director at Marin Institute. “This sends a strong message to Anheuser-Busch InBev and Big Alcohol entities that offering sponsorships to cash-strapped governments will be met with strong opposition from communities concerned with the public health and safety of its residents, especially youth,” he added.
RBR-TVBR observation: State law is state law. But really, does anybody believe that a 20-year-old is going to make a decision on whether to drink or not based on the name of a concert venue? Nonetheless, it goes to show you how powerful the consumer can be.