The Last Call: Deschutes Looks East; A-B Takes Heat


Is Deschutes Eyeing Asheville?

Deschutes Brewery is reportedly scouting Asheville, N.C. as a potential location to build out its east coast brewing facility and distribution center. According to the Citizen Times, representatives from Deschutes had visited Asheville in December and company president Michael LaLonde told the website they have a second trip planned for late May.

“The quality of life is great out there,” LaLonde told the website. “We loved all the breweries that are in and around Asheville. We went on a number of tours and met some great people. The restaurant scene is pretty incredible, as well. Very attractive to us.”

Asheville has a burgeoning homegrown craft beer industry, but it has also been a favorite of out of state brewers, with top 25 players New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada all building facilities in the area. Deschutes, the nation’s sixth largest craft brewery, has also been eyeing land in Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, according to LaLonde.

Former A-B Execs Chime In On Label Controversy

Bud Light caught some heat this week when its “Up For Whatever” marketing campaign was criticized for promoting sexual assault and rape culture. The label in question, which is part of a series, read, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” It made waves on social media with many decrying it as tone deaf at a time when the country is engaged in a significant cultural conversation about the importance of consent. It wasn’t just consumers who criticized the brand either.

As reported by St. Louis Today, two former Anheuser-Busch executives scolded the company as well. Tony Ponturo, who served as A-B’s vice president of global media, sports and entertainment marketing before retiring in 2008, panned the brewery’s explanation for the flap, tweeting, “Interesting that Bud Light didn’t apologize to the consumer for their offensive label…just said they missed mark/regret it!”

Francine Katz, the company’s former vice president of corporate communications, told the Washington Post the label demonstrated “a complete lack of sensitivity” and that she “would have killed it immediately.” Last year, Katz lost a gender discrimination lawsuit filed against the company.

This isn’t the first time the #upforwhatever campaign has been attacked for promoting rape culture. Bud Light sent a St. Patrick’s Day tweet earlier this year that read, “On #StPatricksDay you can pinch people who don’t wear green. You can also pinch people who aren’t #UpForWhatever.” It did not go over well.

A-B Gets New Chairman

Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders have officially approved the appointment of the company’s next chairman, Oliver Goudet. The decision coincides with current leader Kees Storm’s term expiring, according to MarketWatch.

Goudet, an independent board member, will serve as chairman for four years according to the website. Goudet is currently chief executive of JAB Holdings Company, LLC. In March, Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, broke news that Goudet would be nominated. Shareholders also approved Michele Burns and Kasper Rorsted as new independent directors, according to MarketWatch, replacing Storm and Mark Winkelman.

Carlsberg Parodies Controversial Ad

Protein World, a manufacturer of Protein products in England, has come under fire for an ad condemned as being insensitive for asking, “Are you beach body ready?” Much of the criticism stems from the idea that by suggesting a person must look a certain way to be ready for the beach, the company is promoting body shaming and perpetuating overly high fitness standards.

In response, Carlsberg parodied the ad with one of their own, which asks, “Are you beer body ready?” The company has even strategically placed one of the signs next to Protein World’s own controversial ad, according to International Business Times.

“At Carlsberg, we’re not bothered about beer drinkers being beach body ready, our priority is ensuring they’re able to enjoy a nice, cold Carlsberg without worrying about their appearance,” Dharmesh Rana, senior brand manager at Carlsberg UK, told the website. “That’s why we’ve decided to remind the public at major commuter spots across London that it’s not about the way you look, or having probably the best body this summer, it’s about enjoying a Carlsberg whether you’re on the beach or at your local.”