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Now typically when Guinness calls I listen.  Need me to participate in the World's Largest Toast on Saint Patty's Day?  I'm your man.  Having a little Guinness Tasting Event in Georgetown for the discerning stout drinker? Sign me up.  Any bar that doesn't serve Guinness is a bar I go to exactly once.

What can I say?  I'm a stout guy, but more then that I am Guinness Guy.  That creamy black elixir working to make the world a better place one delicious pint at a time.

And then the other day, I get an email with the subject line GUINNESS NEEDS YOUR HELP!

Holy cow!!  Maybe there is some kind of factory over-run and they need people to help drink the surplus?  Oooh!  An ocean tanker bringing in 150 gross tons of the magical brew from Ireland is stranded in rough seas and after they offload the priceless cargo they are going to need people to help them store it?  Are you kidding?  I have an entire extra bedroom in my condo. I'll take 80 cases!  This is going to be great!!!

The I open it to find this:

Hi Wisper,

As someone who enjoys great brands such as Smirnoff, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard or Sterling Vineyards wines, you are a member of the Diageo family. As a member of our family, you need to be aware that in the coming months, lawmakers will be proposing tax increases that will put jobs in your community at risk and raise the cost of your favorite drink.

There's a real price to pay when elected officials misguidedly try to replenish state budgets with regressive taxes that will hit us at a time when we are already being hit hard enough economically. These taxes will cause people like bartenders, waiters, waitresses and other folks who work hard every day in our community restaurants and hotels to lose their jobs. In fact, the last time they raised taxes on alcohol, $1.3 billion in wages were lost, while 98,000 people found themselves out of work.

Hardly sounds fair, does it?

It's time to SAY NO to higher taxes that will put jobs at risk and raise prices on the people who can afford it the least. CLICK HERE to join the fight against irresponsible and regressive taxes.

Together, we can protect our jobs, our livelihoods, and the right to responsibly enjoy a drink.


Guy L. Smith
Executive Vice President
Diageo North America

Now wait.. this isn't just Guinness; this is the global conglomerate Diageo PLC, the largest multinational alcohol distributor in the world.  This is the company that just had a lil' exeuctive shake-up (Stir-up?) this week when Executive VP Asif Adil quit abruptly and is now subject to an internal probe about ethics and policy violation.

This is the company that is under scrutiny for playing a shell game with its corporate headquarter location in order to evade MILLIONS of dollars in UK taxes

This is also the company that just announced its cutting 4% of its workforce in North America.

But aside from all that mega-corporate global shananigans trade stuff... this is the company that makes my beloved brew!  So I click the link in the email and it takes me to and urges me to write my congresspeople to stop this tax hike on alcohol that will cause us to lose $1.3 Billion in wages and 98,000 people to lose their jobs.

$1.3 Billion?  98,000 people out of Guinness-related work?  I don't want that!!!  Except...

There is nothing on the site that says anything about legislation or tax hikes.  There is nothing on the site that explains how taxes, at their current level or any other, will elimate jobs or wages.  Nor is there anything on the site that can explain to me how 98,000 people losing their jobs will eliminate $1.3 Billion in wages.  Who are these 98,000 people that make $13,265/year in the Alcohol pouring industry.  Is that net or gross?

So...since Mr Guy Smith is clearly lacking on the details; is there anyone around here that has a damn clue about what specifically this scare tactic is supposed to get me up in arms about?  Is there really an alcohol tax?  Is there any data supporting this?  Or is this just a dragnet for stimulus opposition using Diageo's customer mailing list?

Originally posted to Wisper on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I go with the latter . . . (7+ / 0-)

    Or is this just a dragnet for stimulus opposition using Diageo's customer mailing list?

    Now by way of protest you might consider supporting craft brews as opposed to the corporate whore called Diego.

    The Beer Advocate

    One of the most brilliant births to come out of the micro-brew revolution of the 80's is the American Stout. American brewers embraced the styles of old, but basically said "Okay, but how can we make it better?" Sierra Nevada Stout, Redhook Double Black Stout, Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Boston Beer Works Buckeye Oatmeal Stout and Ipswich Oatmeal Stout are just a few answers to the question. This style 100% American in uniqueness and taste, and should be 100% supported. Buy, drink and celebrate.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:20:49 AM PDT

    •  Yep, Great Beers are Made in the USA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, jedley

      In almost every state, even Utah. As for for stout I prefer North Coast Old Rasputin, although I admit that compared to the subtleties of Guinness it is more like a redwood tree falling on you.

      So many great American craft brews, so little time.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by easong on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:25:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is one of my I love going to Fort little town (not to be confused with military place of same name back east).

        Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

        by darthstar on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:40:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some great craft brews out there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but will the US stouts work as well as Guinness for my corned beef & cabbage in the slow cooker? Don't want to mess with simple perfection...

        "The party of Lincoln is now the Party of Limbaugh" -- Paul Begala

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:45:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I drink a lot of stouts (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, PapaChach, milkbone, jedley

      but oatmeal stouts have a distinct after taste then I try to avoid and Sierra Nevada Stout is simply awful.  I haven't tried Red Hook but I'll look for it.

      We have a few local breweries here in DC that make a mean stout and when I really need 16 oz of Stygian Inkiness to make the world once again bearable, I go with Russian Imperial Stout.  Its like drinking your own glass of frosty abyss.

      For one, some of these craft brews need to learn the "craft" of using nitrogen rather then carbon dioxide.  A big part of Guinness' ethereal magic is in its texture, not taste.

      Oh, and knock it off with all the cream and chocolate stouts.  

      Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

      by Wisper on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:27:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Red Hook is SUBLIME (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Wisper, Texanomaly

        I want you to try it just to hear the gorgeous language you'll use to describe it!
        "Stygian inkiness" and "glass of frosty abyss" deserve to live forever in the annals of beer writing.

        "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig actually likes it"

        by jedley on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:32:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you can find it, grab some Bell's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Wisper

        They usually have a few different stouts bottled. Stone Brewery has an Imperial that knocked me off my ass, and Left Hand makes a killer one as well.

        I've gone from god damn America to Gawd Damn, America---Bill Maher

        by Relevant Rhino on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:35:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I do support American Brewers.... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, arielle, PapaChach, Wisper, jedley, Dexter

      .. trust me, my corroded liver and expanding waistline are testament to that, but no matter how good the Sierra Nevada, Redhook, or Boston Beer Works stouts are, they just ain't Guiness.

      To paraphrase Dennis Leary, "Keep raising the taxes. We'll break into your houses ... to get the money ... to buy the Guiness. It's a drug, we're addicted! OK?"

      •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PapaChach, milkbone, jedley

        I will say that the American craft brews far exceed mainstream competition in pale beers, particularly ales, porters and IPAs.  (with a possible exception of Delierium, both Tremens and Nocturnum)

        But for stout, too many of these breweries are just over-roasting and hyper-malting and going for an excessively strong frontnote taste to show how "Stouty" their stout is.

        Stout only works when its a complete package.  Taste, texture, alcohol level, nitrogen, temperature, aging, finish, etc.

        Guinness has definitely perfected their forumla.  I would love to see somethign rise up and challenge it, American or otherwise.  

        Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

        by Wisper on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:32:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Top 5 US Stouts . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This from the Beer Advocate (understanding everybody's tastes are a bit different)

        1. Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition/Double Cream Blend
        1. Coffee Stout

           American Stout
           Central Waters Brewing Company

        1. Cadillac Mtn. Stout

        American Stout / 6.70% ABV
        Bar Harbor Brewing Company (this one I have had and love it!)

        1. Chocolate Stout

        American Stout / 6.00% ABV
        Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay (I have my doubts)

        1. Shakespeare Stout

        American Stout / 6.00% ABV
        Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay

        In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

        by jsfox on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:36:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Blech (5+ / 0-)

          When I want Bourbon, I drink bourbon.  The District Chophouse Brewery here in DC is a GREAT brew pub with fantastic beers but they make a Bourbon Stout that I wouldn't use to wash out an dirty Guinness glass.  Its awful.  Its sour.  The smooth roast of the stout ruins the bite of the bourbon and the smoky notes of the Bourbon completely overload the beer.

          Who started this trend with the bourbon shit?  Please stop it.  I bet they don't do this in Europe.  There is probably some old anacrohonistic law on the books somewhere in Germany that can get you stoned to death in the Village Square for trying to sell this swill to the public.

          And again with the Chocolate?  Stout drinkers are usually not your average beer drinkers.  We're not looking for novel flavors or trying to pair a snifter of it with a new Hors d'oeuvre we read about in Bon Appetit.  We drink stout because we like stout.  Why stop at chocolate?  How about Spearamint stout?  Lingonberry Stout?  Lavender-scented Stout?  Cinimmon and Wildflower Honey Stout?  Anyone?  Anyone?

          Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

          by Wisper on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:44:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh whoa.. that list is the top American Stouts (0+ / 0-)

          That's not country of origin... thats type of beer.

          If you want to compete with Guinness, you need to look up the ranks on Irish Dry Stout.

          And the #1 beer there is something called Great Lakes Wolfhound Stout brewed in Cleveland, OH.

          Now THERE is something I'd be interested in seeking out.

          Anyone ever had it?  

          Thinking men can not be ruled. --Ayn Rand

          by Wisper on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:52:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Guinness good. Diageo bad. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PapaChach, M Sullivan, IreGyre

    I remember doing a consulting gig in Dublin I was driving back to the airport, I made a wrong turn and ended up at St. James Gate.  I stopped my car, looked up in wonder at the black gates, and walked across the street to the neighboring pub for three pints before continuing on to the airport (where, it turns out, I had time for two more before my flight).

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:37:03 AM PDT

    •  i believe that was Watling Street, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NMRed, darthstar

      where tim finnegan lived. a gentle irishman, mighty heart. had a beautiful brogue so rich and sweet, to rise in the world he carried a hod.

      see he'd sort of a tipplin way, with a love for the liquor poor tim was born. to help him on with his work every day, he'd a drop of the craythur every morn.

      Everyone who deserves a holiday bonus isn't getting one. Everyone who doesn't deserve a holiday bonus is getting one.

      by andycon on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've taken a poll on the alcohol tax idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A few weeks ago I took a poll on the concept of an alcohol tax.  IIRC the poll was a borderline push poll suggesting that political leaders (didn't identify state vs federal) were considering a tax on alcohol, and isn't this a horrible idea? (I said no, it's not a horrible idea.)  I don't know who's suggesting a tax, but your email sounds a lot like my poll.

    I'm not a beer drinker, but I don't drink Beaulieu or Sterling because they'r corporate wines, fwiw.

    Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies, now discussing fitness Tuesdays at 6 PM PST

    by indigoblueskies on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 08:13:31 AM PDT

  •  The Corporate Monstrosity that almost (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    abandoned the original historic St. James Gate Brewery site in Dublin... the Birthplace of Guinness the source, The holy stout central pilgrimage site... yes they could have left a remnant tourist stop place where you could take a tour of a corner of what once was...

    BUT it was a trial balloon. They were drooling at selling off and or developing the prime real estate on which the Brewery stands... but fortunately the very Idea was howled down by all right thinking stout fans and Irish in general there and abroad, both actual and honorary... and they of course denied it was actually even their intention... no no all a misunderstanding..

    So now the plan is to only develop half of the site... if the world economic climate ever makes it a viable option....and either way they will actually still continue brewing there... not only the good stuff but all the other beers they do under license from just about everybody... (including... ahem... Budweiser... and they don't even perform exorcism when they're done and move on to a batch of Guinness... oh the humanity...)

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

    by IreGyre on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:06:49 AM PDT

    •  that's good news! (0+ / 0-)

      for St James is indeed holy ground.

      I never understand the "Budweiser" craze, which I have seen served from long necks at room temperature in Athlone, when there are so many fine brews to be had made with more care and quality ingredients in Ireland.

      Behold the power of advertising.

  •  I have never had a good Guinness in the USA (0+ / 0-)

    and it's not for a lack of trying. Sure, the cans with the little gas widget are fun to open, and create a passable stoutish drink, but it's no Guinness. And the drafts I had in establishments wherever 2 or more people who claim a dram or two of irish blood are gathered, well, sweet suffering Mary Mother of God, that's better left for someone kinder than myself to note the weakness of those libations.

    I make this statement knowing full well I'll get plenty of suggestions for pubs to try in NYC, Boston, Philly and even west of the Mississippi. I'm game.

    But I must warn you: I frequent pubs in Ireland so often that in the town I love so well, not only do I have preferred pubs for pint of the good stuff, but there's specific publicans working the taps I look for when we're having a few pints on a good night for friends and music and a bit of the craic.

    (I would also like to mention that the proper nickname for March 17th is 'St Paddy's Day', "Patty" being the young girl's variation. This, too, makes me grouchy, but then, I no longer celebrate St Paddy's day in public, there being too many amateur drunks on the streets for my liking)


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