Thursday, February 16, 2012
Payola in the Washington, DC Beer Market
If you've ever been to a bar or restaurant and complained, or thought to complain, about the selection of beer there, there's sometimes a nefarious reason for that, as opposed to a lazy one. I put on my journalism hat and delve into the word of payola, the quid pro quo that goes on between the people who make beer, distribute it, and sell it to us. I'll have more to say on this later, as there's going to be some fallout from this post over at DCBeer, especially since it went national. Some of that fallout is already in the comments, where a former Flying Dog employee, this brewery being the alleged victim of payola that got the ball rolling on this piece, adds some nuance to the proceedings in the comments section. In short, craft brewers and their distributors engage in this kind of behavior, too. Everyone does, and it's often hard to tell the difference between an illegal activity and building a business relationship. I'm not sure where the line is on this kind of behavior, and neither are the authorities who are supposed to enforce the law. Give it a read.