Drug War

Tribe Sues Beer Companies for Supplying Too Much Beer


Yesterday the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota sued five big beer companies—Anheuser-Busch InBev, SAB Miller, Molson Coors , MillerCoors, and Pabst—for making crappy beer. Just kidding. The tribe actually blames the brewers for making too much beer, enough to supply Oglala Sioux on the officially dry Pine Ridge Reservation. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, also names four beer stores in Whiteclay, a tiny Nebraska town near the reservation where nearly 5 million cans of beer were sold in 2010. "You cannot sell 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer," says the tribe's attorney, "and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say, 'We've got nothing to do with it being smuggled.'"

If you think the tribe's demands that people outside the reservation help enforce its ban on alcohol are unreasonable, consider how the U.S. treats "source countries" that provide the illegal drugs Americans want. Its efforts to destroy and intercept those drugs go well beyond filing lawsuits. If the Oglala Sioux had the resources to wage a War on Alcohol that involved bombing breweries and raiding liquor stores, on what moral grounds could the U.S. government object?

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on the State College Ripoff

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  2. making crappy beer. Just kidding

    No, you’re not. Libertarians are oddly elitist. They seem to be genuinely offended by the common beer brands most Americans enjoy. If the best-selling beers in the country are “crappy,” what does that say about American culture and Americans? Libertarians have the answer: They despise you.

    1. I don’t despise them. I just think they have a shitty taste in beer. There’s a huge gulf between “I disagree” and “I despise you!”

      1. they have a shitty taste in beer

        And your opinion of what is good or bad is paramount?
        Nah, you’re not an elitist.

        1. No, but no one’s opinion is paramount. Have you ever in your life not liked a movie? And did you tell anyone else that you didn’t like the movie? Well, guess what: somebody, somewhere probably did like it. So does that make you an elitist?

          1. Having any standards at all makes you an elitist. Wanting choices is elitist. Not wanting to compel others to behave in the way you want is elitist.

            1. I agree with Brandon, I hope this is the new smear-of-the-month. I can see us having a lot of fun with this.

        2. Ooh, is this the anti-libertarian smear of the week? We’re elitist? Good to know, the whole “racist” thing was getting kinda stale.

          1. Don your monocles, fellows!

            1. Its a magnifying glass for disapproving looks.

        3. And your opinion of what is good or bad is paramount?

          It is to me, certainly when it comes to food and drink.

      2. I’m with Jim. My preference is for different types of beer. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of most lager styles at all. Does this make me an anti-German racist? (answer: no, I love me a well made doppelbock).

        Stout is my fancy. A wickedly good IPA with resinous and piney notes as well will work come summer. And the belgian styles have a place in my heart. That said, if I give that to a pisswasser drinker they claim I’m an idiot and I’m not drinking beer. My brother in law is a coors light and corona guy, when I pour a thick stout into a snifter he looks at me like I’m a fag. Whatever. But who’s the elitist?

        1. I should further piggyback on my comments and mention that I am a big fan of the BMC marketing strategy. Not because I like their commercials, but because the singlehandedly subsidize my one hoi polloi guilty pleasure: NFL and NCAA Football.

          1. Keep drinking, Sudden. Eventually you’ll learn to appreciate the subtlety of a well-crafted lager.

            1. There are a few no doubt. Samual Smith’s Organic Lager is fairly good. And a solid Festbier from time to time (Weihenstephaner’s Festbier comes to mind). Beyond that, I have a greater appreciation for the craftsmanship of a well made lager. I realize that the brews I generally go for can easily conceal their flaws because the flavor profile is naturally bold. A lager has a very light profile, so the smallest flaw can be magnified greatly.

        2. Brewing a zoigl as we speak (er, write). None for you!

    2. If the best-selling beers in the country are “crappy,” what does that say about American culture and Americans?

      That americans love the taste of piss?

      1. But you’re not an elitist. Gotcha.

    3. Nah, I like Iron Maiden and Shiner Bock. Hardly elitist.

      If you don’t like those, bring your own music and beer and I’ll consider playing the music.

      1. Have you had Zeigenbock? I find it far superior to Shiner.

    4. So Flyover, do you drink domestic beer because it makes you feel MOAR “American”? How’s life in the hive?

      How about you drink what you like and I’ll drink what I like and I won’t worry about you and you don’t worry about me?

    5. What’s odd about that? The public also thinks Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO and Bieber are good music, and vote for crappy, authoritarian candidates in just about every election. “What’s popular is not always right” as they say.

      Why should we apologize for having an inherently superior sense of taste than the average Joe? *snubs nose and scoffs*

    6. Welcome to 1990, Flyover This.

      By contrast, microbrew is hardly elitist in 2012. It’s very middle America now. They even have microbrews in St. Louis.

      As far as I can tell, the only people who like beer and are still regularly drinking Classic American Pisswater are broke college students and hipsters with their PBR.

      1. Sometimes things are consumed NOT because they taste good OR bad!

        I drink Sailor Jerry Rum because:

        A: I was in the Navy and rum has been part of nautical culture for centuries.

        B: It’s about as fucking cheap as rum can get and still be legal.

        C: It HURTS! Sweet Sally in the Alley, does it HURT!

        When I die, I’m only going to invite people I hate to my funeral because every cell in my corpse will be so loaded with rum that I’ll detonate in the crematorium and score a posthumus win against my enemies! I just hope that my “vikiing” funeral will be big enough to make CNN!

        1. I drink Sailor Jerry Rum because:

          No, you drink it so you can attract young hipster broads. NTTAWWT

          1. I’m ex-military, remember?

            That tends to scare hipsters away (or at least it does in the college I’m going to).

            Besides, any young hipster broad who can straight drink Sailor Jerry’s Rocket Fuel (and not die horribly) is probably a hipster in name only!

            1. Haha. I was just playing with you and looking for an outlet for my hipster contempt.

              1. I was on a recruiting trip with some coworkers earlier this week. On the drive back my coworker made some comment on music and I called him a hipster. This girl from San Diego asked what we were talking about. The best 90 minutes of the trip followed as the three of us explained how crazy hipsters are to her. Do they not use the term in southern California?

                1. What’s this california you speak of?

                  1. It’s this really cool place, but pretty obscure. You probably haven’t heard of it.

      2. St. Louis has had quite the explosion of craft breweries over the past five or so years. I head down there roughly every other month for work and it’s been awesome to watch all the new breweries pop up. (For the record, my favorite new one is Urban Chestnut.)

        1. Don’t we have a HnRunner who opened a microbrewery (roughly) in that region of the country?

          1. Louisville, and still in the process, but yes.

            Spring! is my answer to the obvious question.

            1. Louisville… St. Louis… It’s all the same to a left- or right-coaster, right?

              1. flyover is flyover.

              2. Hey man, 268 miles off in a country this big isn’t bad.

                1. Particularly when I said “region of the country”.

                  1. Just giving you crap. It’s not like we flyover folks have anything better to do for entertainment.

                    1. He was only off by 3 states on I-64.

                  2. Region meaning “somewhere roughly in the middle”?

                    1. Those both still seem pretty east to me. Though to be fair I would much rather live in Kentucky than Missouri.

            2. What’s going to be on the menu? I may end up doing some consulting work near there over the next few years.

              1. Menu? Fuck that shit. Brewery, not a brewpub.

                I know absolutely nothing about birthin no babies running a restaurant.

                1. So will there be a pub at all?

                  1. Probably not. The zoning at my most probable location (which hopefully will be finalized over the next few weeks) precludes by the drink sales.

                    Basically, to run a brewery, you need to be in a M2 (mid-level manufacturing, there is M1/M2/M3). To sell by-the-drink you need to be in C2 (mid-level commercial).

                    The place Im going to be is in a PEC zone, which is a combo of M2 and C1. Which means I can do package sales. So, you will be able to buy 6-packs and growler fills from the brewery, but there wont be a pub.

                    The only place I could get a combo M2/C2 was downtown in the EZ1 (enterprise zone – its basically a free-for-all). But I dont want to be downtown.

                    1. Dang, I much prefer getting my craft brews on tap and talking with the owner/brewer. Growlers it is!

                    2. I can also give out up to 16 oz FREE as part of a tour.

                    3. Can I take multiple tours?

      3. Over 50% of beer drinkers drink craft on occassion (defined as 2+ times per month).

    7. Libertarians are oddly elitist


    8. Adjusting our monocles while drinking a Coors? How utterly uncultured!

      1. I have people I pay to adjust my monocle for me. Also people I pay to drink my Coors.

        1. Wow. I genuinely can’t believe you let that kind of tasteless rube into your house. What if he spills his Coors on your favorite Persian rug?

          I don’t care what my servants do in their miniscule amount of free time, but in my mansion, I afford them the honor of licking the condensation off my empty mug of Trappiste Rochefort 10.

          1. The people I pay to drink my Coors are not in my house when they drink it. Or ever.

            1. Phew! I was worried we were going to have to revoke your bonafide Cosmotarian Club membership for a second there.

    9. First of all, the fact that something is best-selling has an incredibly low correlation to its quality. Is McDonald’s great food? Is Taylor Swift a great artist? Is James Patterson a great author? No, no, and no. They’re popular because they’re very good at providing an inoffensive product that appeals to people who aren’t passionate about food, music or literature (or people who are at times, but not always).

      Beer is the same way. Bud/Miller/Coors are popular because they’re bland and inoffensive: qualities that appeal to folks who aren’t passionate about beer but want to take the edge off after work or get buzzed while watching the game. It just so happens that far more people fall into that demographic than the beer geek demographic, and hence macro lagers far outsell craft beer. It doesn’t mean craft beer drinkers are BETTER; it just means they’re more passionate about beer.

      Do some beer geeks get carried away in their hatred for macro-lagers? I would say yes, though some of the actions of AB-InBev and MillerCoors have certainly helped feed the hostility. But it has nothing to do with libertarians despising everybody else (particularly since I know more liberal beer geeks than libertarian ones). For some it may actually be elitism, but for most it’s simply that they enjoy more flavorful beer.

    10. We’ll stop despising “Americans” as soon as they stop betraying the American ideal of liberty, right and left wing alike.

  3. id be helpful if the pic was related to beer.

    1. Good one o3.

      You’ll never be helpful.

  4. I wouldn’t be an alcoholic if you weren’t selling so much booze.

  5. so, let’s say I’m a member of the tribe, and I disagree with the reservation’s prohibition of alcohol.

    obviously, after failing to convince a change to the prohibition policy, my only option left would be to vote with my feet. except…don’t I have a right to live on the reservation? if i choose to vote with my feet, aren’t I due compensation from the reservation for having to give up my right (assumed above) to live there?

    I guess I’m questioning the legal basis for the prohibition of alcohol on reservations.

    1. I don’t see how that’s any different than living in the US while disagreeing with, e.g., pot prohibition. Sucks, but that’s the stupid law of the land.

  6. I don’t get it. Why doesn’t the Heap Big Chief just tell those guys to quit drinking?


      They only work one way.

  7. Can the beer companies settle in exchange for firewater, blankets, and beads?

    1. You dumbass! Firewater? GUARDS!

      All you need are the blankets.

  8. Josey Wales: You have any food here?
    Lone Watie: All I have is a piece of hard rock candy. But it’s not for eatin’. It’s just for lookin’ through.

    1. no wait a sec, ur quoting clint? a gay commie traitor?

      1. No, he’s quoting a line from a movie. Clint Eastwood was not really an outlawed ex-Confederate. You knew that, right?

        1. shut-up gay commie traitor

          1. You gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?

          2. [spits a gob of tobacco juice on the ground, wipes lip with back of hand] “Buzzard’s gotta eat.”

  9. Nice alt-text BTW, especially since it’s Coors light. Worst. Beer. Ever

    1. I think Beer Beer or Olympia could beat Coors light for crappiest beer ever.

      1. My wife has tried to quench my thirst for expensive well made beer by picking up comparable styles at Trader Joe’s. Some are good (their vintage ale is a BSDA made by Unibrau) but some are pretty bad. Stay away from Boatswain’s DIPA.

        1. A shipmate of mine, that I roomed with in the barracks, used to brew his own beer with those home kits that he hid in a foot locker.

          He came up with all kinds of crazy labels that he’d make himself with Photoshop and would give the beers away as gag gifts. He was of German descent and one time he gave a Jewish buddy of ours a custom brew as a joke for his birthday. It had an Iron Cross on the label and read “Meister Brau: A master brew for a master race!”

          Our buddy thought it was hilarious (I think it was from a joke off a British comedy he liked) but his also Jewish wife was PISSED! They got into a fight and the more she yelled, the more he would stand silently in front of her and chug his Meister Brau! Soon as his wife ran out of breath he handed the empty bottle to his German buddy and belched “Dudemeister, make me some more!”

      2. Dixie White Moose.

    2. Full strength Busch is worse.

  10. They need to sue their DNA

  11. You’re supposed to be a sovereign nation, so act like it! Post some cops at the border, like dry counties do. Or grow a set and legalize it.

  12. Free Marc Emery!

  13. “You cannot sell 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer,” says the tribe’s attorney, “and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say, ‘We’ve got nothing to do with it being smuggled.'”

    Native Americans – America’s first socialists. There’s a reason their societies collapsed.

    1. Barely getting out of the stone age didn’t help.

      1. Original affluent society you mean. Have to be politically correct these days you know.

    2. I hope the court response is, “Ya, actually you can wash hands of it. Fuck off, and have a nice day”.

  14. They could always ride in on horseback and scalp the cashiers.

    (Note: Reading “Blood Meridian” desensitized me to Native American violence.)

  15. I eagerly await the court decision holding retailers responsible for subsequent illegal use of their wares.

    Next up: Ford, GM sued because their vehicles are the getaway car of choice.

    1. Soon to be followed by Toyota and Honda being sued for having the most stolen cars in 2011…

  16. “You cannot sell 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer,” says the tribe’s attorney, “and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say, ‘We’ve got nothing to do with it being smuggled.'”

    [raises hand] Oooh! Oooh! I think I know this one!

  17. “on what moral grounds could the U.S. government object?”

    American exceptionalism. It’s what explains why we’re excepted from the golden rule.

  18. If the Oglala Sioux had the resources to wage a War on Alcohol that involved bombing breweries and raiding liquor stores, on what moral grounds could the U.S. government object?

    Since when did the U.S. government base anything on moral grounds? We haven’t had a president in my lifetime (at least) who even knows what the word “moral” means.

    The argument would boil down to “American Exceptionalism doesn’t apply to Native Americans. Because we said so!”

  19. Little Scout ask Big Chief, “Big Chief, why is American beer like having sex in a canoe?”

    Big Chief say, “Little Scout, they are both fucking close to water.”

  20. “. . . on what moral grounds could the U.S. government object?”

    The same grounds we always object to, the same reason we are upset that Israel is talking about attacking Iran – they aren’t America.

  21. That’s what the Sioux get for not enforcing immigration laws 200 years ago. :-b

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