Garcetti’s World Series bet rankles L.A.’s craft brewing community
In today’s era of corporate globalization, there’s no such thing as a simple World Series bet, as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti discovered this week.
As the Dodgers and Houston Astros face off, Garcetti said Tuesday he would send a “uniquely L.A. meal” to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner if the Dodgers lose the series. The meal, Garcetti said in a Twitter message, would include beer from Golden Road Brewing and Kogi BBQ.
Sports bets are par for the course for Garcetti, who three years ago wagered a Pink’s hot dog with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during the Stanley Cup Final.
But this time, Garcetti’s bet rankled L.A.’s budding craft beer community, which argues that Golden Road Brewing no longer typifies an L.A. brand.
Located in Atwater Village, Golden Road Brewing employs 185 people, according to the company. It is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is headquartered in Belgium and owns more than 500 beer brands, according to the company’s website.
Golden Road Brewing beer is also sold in Texas and is available in several grocery stores in Houston, including Whole Foods, according to a Whole Foods spokesperson.
The Los Angeles County Brewers Guild, a nonprofit group representing nearly 70 local breweries, responded to the mayor on Twitter and urged him to bet an “independent” L.A. beer.
Other local brewers and beer bloggers also piled on. Torrance-based Smog City Brewing Co. tweeted, “Call to Action! Let our mayor know Independent beer should represent L.A. not ‘Big Beer’! #independentbeer #supportlocal.”
“Local breweries = local votes, mayor,” wrote another Twitter user.
“We’re not trying to pick on the mayor,” said Frances Lopez, executive director of the brewers guild. “We want to encourage people to support local businesses.”
The beer flap highlights the competitive nature of the growing specialty beer market in Los Angeles, where small breweries cultivate loyal followings.
Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar defended the mayor’s choice, saying the bet was made “in the spirit of fun and friendly competition, and to celebrate the excitement over the Dodgers’ historic World Series run.”
“Mayor Garcetti is proud to support local businesses that create jobs in our city and tell L.A.’s unique story,” Comisar said.
Beer companies, large and small, have backed Garcetti: His nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles received a combined total of $85,000 from Anheuser-Busch and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation since 2015, according to city records. And some of the locally owned L.A. brewers have supported Garcetti, Lopez said.
Sports and beer is a familiar theme for Garcetti. During the Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup victory celebration at Staples Center, the mayor famously swore on live television and raised a bottle of Bud Light to the crowd.
In response, Golden Road Brewing sent the mayor some beer, hoping to turn him on to the brand, said Lopez, who worked for the company at the time. (Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired Golden Road in 2015.)
Meanwhile, Golden Road Brewing declined to weigh in on the criticism over Garcetti’s beer pick.
“Sounds like Mayor Garcetti and Mayor Turner have a friendly bet on the game,” said general manager Mark Kamarauskas. “We’ll cheers to that, and we’re looking forward to celebrating a Dodger championship!”
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