Back-to-school beer


I saw something interesting for the first time at that reception Wednesday night — Bud Light in dark red, or perhaps I should say garnet, cans. That was a new one on me and the ad folks I spoke to that night. I asked the guy working the bar what was up with the cans, and he didn’t know; it was the first time he’d seen them, too.

Someone speculated that it was a school-colors thing. That someone was right, as the WSJ reported Friday morning:

Dozens of colleges are up in arms over a new Anheuser-Busch marketing campaign that features Bud Light beer cans emblazoned with local schools’ team colors.

Many college administrators contend that the promotions near college campuses will contribute to underage and binge drinking and give the impression that the colleges are endorsing the brew. Though some schools aren’t interfering with the promotion, others are demanding that the sales be stopped. With students returning to campuses and the fall football season approaching, the “Fan Cans” are also renewing the debate over the role of beer makers in encouraging college drinking.

Anheuser-Busch responds that the campaign is aimed only at fans who can drink legally and that it has long supported efforts to fight alcohol abuse. It notes that the cans don’t bear any school’s name or logo. And it says it will drop the campaign near any college that makes a formal complaint…

Then WIS did a story on them last night.

Actually, I thought the cans I saw — which were technically muted red and cream, not garnet and black — looked pretty good, aesthetically speaking (way, WAY better than those tacky LSU cans). Picture it away from the blue carton, which kind of takes away from the effect (I shot this pics on my phone at Food Lion).

But then, I didn’t see them and think “Gamecocks.” If I had, I would have been less enchanted. As y’all know, I take a dim view of anything that encourages kids to drink — something I know that not all of y’all agree with me on.

Maybe this suggests a new standard for legal drinking: How about if we pass a law that if you’re impressionable enough to buy a beer because it has your school colors on it, you should be banned from drinking forever?

Anyway, what do y’all think?


29 thoughts on “Back-to-school beer

  1. Brad Warthen

    And no, I didn’t pry open that case in the store to get the can out and take that picture. Some other curious customer before me had opened it already. I just took a can out and set it there, took my picture and then set it back…

  2. Randy E

    I’m with you on young people and drinking but I don’t think this marketing campaign contributes in any significant way.

    Thinking back to my college days, I was scarfing down Bush and Schafer beer ($6/case at that time). If they offered these in Clemson orange, I’d choose a case of orange over the standard color but purchasing and consuming a case would have already been in my immediate future.

    That disgusting looking red beer can belongs in Athens.

  3. Brad Warthen

    Maybe that’s not even supposed to be USC… maybe it’s supposed to be College of Charleston or something. USC wouldn’t be dark red and cream-colored…

  4. doug_ross

    So Brad and Randy both drank beer before age 21 and want to implement the “do as I say, not as I did” policy?

    How much better would your life had been had you waited until 21 to drink?

    Self-inflicted bad behavior is rarely a result of supply but of demand.

  5. kbfenner

    “How about if we pass a law that if you’re impressionable enough to buy a beer because it has your school colors on it, you should be banned from drinking forever?”


    Husband Steve did, too.

    @Doug–it was legal, then, huge difference, and, btw, I didn’t drink beer then anyway–didn’t like the taste.

  6. Karen McLeod

    They’re trying to disguise themselves as Cheerwine. I’m not sure that there’s much you can do in this society to effectively discourage underage drinking. Of course we haven’t effectively discouraged “of age” drunken driving. Or other unsafe driving, for that matter.

  7. Randy E

    kb is right Doug, in SC 18 was the legal age.

    I’m sure you are perfectly willing to let your kids drink and drive because you or your wife have done that.

  8. doug_ross


    Huh? When do you suppose I (or my wife) have ever got behind the wheel after drinking too much?

    My wife rarely drinks any alcohol and if I have more than one beer, she drives. So what point were you trying to make? That I need to drive drunk and then tell my kids “don’t do that”? My kids have never had to worry about seeing me drunk and I have no underage drinking stories to tell them.

    I’m just trying to understand whether you felt your drinking at age 18 (legal or not) had any serious impact on your life in a negative way. Did you feel at age 18 that you were capable of handling the responsibility of voting, serving in the military, getting a car loan, getting a credit card but felt that drinking a beer was a serious challenge to your life’s potential? Do you regret the drinks you had from age 18-21 and the negative effect they had on your life?

  9. Birch Barlow


    I drank underage and my life has been completely unaffected by it. And yet I do regret it because it was irresponsible. Just because nothing bad happened to me doesn’t mean it couldn’t have. And it doesn’t mean it won’t happen to the next kid that does.

    I realize that creating a drinking age restriction means you have to draw an arbitrary line somewhere. I feel like it should be drawn past the high school age. That means 19; though I have no problem with the way it is now.

  10. Randy E

    So Doug, if you or your wife ever drank and drive (even under the leagal limit) I guess your kids can too. If you or she drank while underage, I guess you’ll stock the fridge with these ugly red beers and allow them to help themselves or perhaps they can help themselves while at someone else’s house.

    Suggesting that a parent can’t hold kids to standards that the parents may have violated is silly.

  11. doug_ross


    Don’t worry about me. I want to know how thou are going to explain to your kids how awful it was to drink beer at age 20. How it ended up ruining your life. How you were so stupid to do such an irresponsible thing like that. Just don’t tell them about the fun you thougt you were having.

    Beer doesn’t kill people. Stupid people do stupid things.

  12. Lee Muller

    I want to know how Randy will answer his children when they ask where he was when the socialists took away their freedom of choice in medical care, left them with huge debts and high taxes, and destroyed the economy.

  13. Randy E

    “Beer doesn’t kill people. Stupid people do stupid things.” – Doug.

    Exactly the point Brad and I are making. Teenagers, in general, will engage in more reckless behavior (frontal lobes, which control executive decisions, are often still developing). Throw in alcohol and the recklessness is magnified. Yes, kids get alcohol now but certainly they will have greater access if high school seniors are legal.

    How did it impact me? I remember going to the Twilight on Rosewood as a high school senior on school nights and we often drove home drunk. The evidence, contrary to what you stated in a previous thread, reveals a relationship between drinking age and alcohol related accidents. I was simply lucky.

    Doug, you certainly took an interest in Brad and I – “do as I say not as I do” – but you side step your own situation. Are you suggesting that you would be ok with your kids drinking at someone else’s house as high school seniors? Don’t qualify your response. Simply answer the question.

  14. doug_ross


    Again, I don’t know what you are talking about. You keep creating these hypothetical scenarios that have nothing to do with anything.

    Of course I wouldn’t be ok with them drinking as high school seniors at someone else’s house. What does that have to do with the color of beer cans or whether an 18 year old can have all other adult rights EXCEPT drinking a beer responsibly?

    You drove drunk as an 18 year old. Did your parents tell you that was a bad idea? Did you ever hear any adults say that drinking and driving were dangerous? I assume you did. And yet you did it anyway. Because you were “reckless” due to your frontal lobes, I guess. It was beyond your control. Those cases of beer just kept calling your name and you couldn’t resist.

    There’s kids in every grade in high school who are drinking now despite all the parents telling them not to and despite all the media campaigns against it. As far as I can tell it’s no different in terms of the percentages than when I was a teen 30 years ago.
    As I’ve said, irresponsible behavior is a problem of demand and not supply. As Forrest Gump said, stupid is and stupid does.

  15. Randy E

    Doug, I think you sometimes forget what you write.

    Brad and I took a stance against allowing younger kids to drink.

    You commented that we wanted kids to “do as we say not as we do.”

    I pointed out that by commiting an act as a younger person does not preclude us from holding kids to the standard we did not meet. I then asked you if you were holding yourself to YOUR implied practice of not holding kids to a standard you yourself did not meet.

    That’s what transpired.

    Supply does play a role and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous. I cited one example – if I was not legal as a high school senior, I would not have imbibed nearly as much and certainly would not have driven all the way downtown to drink.

    So you don’t want your kids as high school seniors to drink at other people’s houses but you support a drinking age that would allow them to go to bars leagally?

  16. Lee Muller

    The socialist bilge taught in the government brain laundries is more dangerous to our youth than alcohol or tobacco.

  17. doug_ross

    > So you don’t want your kids as
    >high school seniors to drink at
    >other people’s houses but you
    >support a drinking age that would
    >allow them to go to bars leagally?

    Yes. What I want them to do and what they could do legally are two different things. I don’t WANT my 18 year kids to get credit cards but they have. I don’t WANT my 21 year old son to drink but he did (at age 21 and not a drop before). I don’t WANT my kids to serve in the military but they could. In those cases, my kids have acted responsibly with the rights they have been given as adults. Responsible behavior is not a magic switch that turns on at some arbitrary age.

    Which brings us back to the basic idea that if someone is old enough to vote, own a handgun, have credit cards and a mortgage, serve in the military, pay income taxes, , or even DRIVE A FREAKIN SCHOOL BUS or other commercial vehicle in state

    that maybe, just maybe, the vast majority of those same people might be capable of drinking a beer without it causing the collapse of civilization.

  18. doug_ross

    And you continue to ignore the fact that underage drinking occurs every day of the week in high schools and college despite the laws, despite the warnings from adults, despite the horror stories about drunk drivers killing innocent people.

    How much more drinking do you think will occur if the legal age was dropped to 18? 5%? 25%?

    The liberal prayer: “Please Lord let the government save me from myself”

  19. doug_ross

    Other things an 18 year old can do:

    Get an abortion without parental consent

    Buy/sell/act in pornography

    Perform a marriage ceremony

    Buy lottery tickets

    Buy cigarettes

  20. Randy E

    I continue to be impresses with how you side step key points that were made.

    First, we’ve already determined that there is a relationship between lowering the drinking age and an increase in young people having accidents. (You attempted to debunk this but I explained how your reference to data issues was incorrect.)

    Second, your child didn’t drink a drop before age 21? Why? Is it because that was threshhold for legal drinking? Interesting how that worked for your child but you dismiss it in general. The fact that the illegal activity exists doesn’t render the law moot. Murder occurs every day, do we revoke the law against murder because of this?

    The government regulates society in many ways. There is a blood alcohol limit for driving. Why, because we are saving the person from him or herself? There are restrictions on marketing and producing cigarettes. Why, because smoking only affects the smoker? There are speed limits, handgun restrictions, and even a cracked windshield insurance provision. Why? Because these issues don’t simply involve ourselves, they affect others. The uber-simplistic “liberals prayer” is Reaganesque which exemplies how skewed it is.

    A reduction in the drinking age would increase accident rates for younger drivers. These accidents will involve other people who were simply minding their own business. That’s what you are ignoring.

  21. Lee Muller

    Randy doesn’t mind that the small vehicles mandated by arbitrary legal mileage standards already kill thousands of people a year. The new regulations will kill thousands more.

  22. doug_ross


    Raising the age for joining the military would save lives as well. Are you and Brad on board with that? You may be but I think Brad tends to think 18 year olds are perfectly fine to use as cannon/IED fodder.

    I suppose we could mandate government issued bubble wrap and helmets to protect our 20 year old “children” from harming themselves.

  23. Birch Barlow

    Doug, Randy made the point that these restrictions protect others from harm. You only address the idea of protecting one from one’s self.

    You both make valid points but clearly are not on the same page.

  24. Lee Muller

    Using other laws which confer little or no benefits to the public good as examples is a poor form of argument, Randy.

    For example, the hundreds of useless and unConstitutional restrictions on handgun ownership and possession are examples of government control for the sake of control, often against the poor and racial minorities.

  25. doug_ross


    An 18 year old can buy a gun, drive a school bus, and have an abortion.
    Are any of those activities potentially more harmful to others than drinking a beer?

    The age doesn’t define the harmful action, the irresponsible behavior does. An 18 year old drunk driver is just as potentially harmful as a 40 year old drunk driver or as a sober 85 year old.

    We have laws against drunk driving. There are penalties for that bad behavior. An adult (18 years old for pretty much all activities) should be held accountable.

  26. Randy E

    Doug, there is statistical evidence of a relationship between drinking age and accidents. Young people are already at the highest risk of having accidents and this is the leading cause of death for that age group.

    Accidents often involve other people. More accidents more other people.

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