Boston Beer Pulls Support of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Bagpipers play while marching in the 2013 parade. (Steven Senne/AP)

Amid growing controversy over an ongoing ban against gay and lesbian rights activists’ marching in South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Boston Beer Company today announced that it has dropped its sponsorship of the event.

Jessica Paar, the company’s senior public relations manager, sent a statement to Brewbound explaining the decision:

“We have participated in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade and St. Patrick’s Day breakfast because of the rich history of the events, and to support veterans who have done so much for our country. We were hopeful an agreement could be reached to allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in this parade. However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible. We stand with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch, and other community leaders in our decision not to participate in this year’s parade, but will continue our strong support of the Boston community as well as Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and her St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. We wish her all the best in her historic stewardship of this tradition.”

The decision to cut ties with the parade comes just one day after Club Café, a gay restaurant and nightclub in Boston’s South End neighborhood, ignited a social media campaign boycotting Samuel Adams products.

“Club Cafe is very disappointed that Sam Adams does not understand that the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade continue to demonstrate that they do not respect LGBT Irish Americans by excluding LGBT members of this community from openly marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” a Facebook post read.

In just 20 hours, the post garnered over 300 likes, 20 comments and was shared more than 70 times.

The debate over whether or not parade organizers would allow long-excluded gay and lesbian participants to march in Sunday’s tour of South Boston has raged for weeks. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh attempted to negotiate a deal between MassEquality and parade organizers, the ‘Allied War Veterans Council,’ but talks collapsed on Wednesday.

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