The Schlafly Beer Employee Blog

May 1, 2011

Top Fermentation - May 2011


The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly

Some alert readers (ARs) may have been as surprised as I was to read about the file the FBI maintained on Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. According to the FBI file, in 1961 Kennedy (who had not yet been elected to the U.S. Senate) rented a brothel in Santiago, Chile for an entire night. As far as I know, the report does not mention the capacity of the brothel; but that’s still a lot of entertainment for one evening.

If this report is true, it raises some troubling questions. Why did Senator Kennedy choose to outsource this business to Latin America? Why didn’t he buy American? Bear in mind that his brother John had famously declared a few months earlier, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”  One would think that the least the President’s brother could have done for his country would have been to spend his money in an American bordello.

A half-century later Senator John Kerry, also from Massachusetts, truly is doing something for his country in the spirit of President Kennedy. He has joined with Senator Mike Crapo from Idaho to introduce the Brewers Employment and Excise Relief (BEER) Act, which would ease the tax burden on small breweries and create thousands of jobs. I would be remiss if I didn’t remind ARs that the impetus for this legislation came from Dan Kopman, the co-founder and vice president of The Saint Louis Brewery. Dan’s efforts in this regard recently earned him the prestigious Defense of the Industry Award from the Brewers Association. I’m proud to be associated with someone who is doing so much for our industry and our country.

kopmanWinner of the Brewers Association 2011 Defense of the Industry Award

I hasten to add that this isn’t the first time the beer industry has done something significant for the nation. According to an AR named James Sullivan, breweries played a big part in promoting the northern cause in St. Louis during the Civil War, thereby helping keep Missouri in the Union. As reported by AR Sullivan, several breweries in St. Louis were used as secret drill sites by German troops loyal to the Union, including Julius Winklmeyer’s Brewery on Market Street, White Beer Brewery and Stifel’s Brewery. In another beer-related incident, 200 rifles were hidden in beer barrels and smuggled to Union sympathizers at the Turnverein (Turner Hall).

As the nation commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, it’s worth noting that many Southerners persist in describing the conflict that occurred from 1861 to 1865 as The War Between The States. Without meaning to offend ARs with Confederate ancestry, I would simply observe that this term is grammatically offensive. “Between” is a preposition that is only appropriate when referring to two entities. Given that the Civil War involved 36 states (25 with the Union and 11 with the Confederacy), the preferred nomenclature would be The War Among The States, “among” being the proper preposition when more than two entities are involved.

While I’m on the subject, it’s worth pointing out that Dixie, the de facto anthem of the Confederacy, is also grammatically defective. Consider the opening line, “I wish I was in the land of cotton.” This aspiration clearly warrants the use of the subjunctive, “I wish I were in the land of cotton.” One wonders if Southern militias in St. Louis marched to attack Unionist beer halls to a rousing chorus of:

I wish I was in the land of cotton.
Grammar there is oft forgotten.

While others have been preparing to commemorate the war among the American states, I’ve been reading a fascinating book about the wars among Italian states over 500 years ago. Titled The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior, it recounts the wars among Pisa, Florence, Venice and The Papal States, among others, specifically the respective roles played by Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia. Of these three men, perhaps none was more colorful than Borgia, for whom Leonardo designed weaponry and whom Machiavelli admired. According to one contemporary observer, “Cesare murdered his brother, slept with his sister, spent most of the treasure of the Church, and was the terror of his father Alexander.”

Alexander, it’s worth recalling, was Pope Alexander VI, who distinguished himself in many ways, not least in hosting orgies worthy of some of the most debauched emperors of ancient Rome. One particularly scandalous party, as described by the papal master of ceremonies, took place on Sunday, October 30, 1501 at the pope’s apartment in the apostolic palace. The guests included his children Don Cesare and Donna Lucrezia; and the entertainment involved “50 decent prostitutes” performing tricks not suitable for describing in The Growler. Unlike Senator Kennedy, Pope Alexander apparently saw no need to outsource work of this kind to other countries.


Ed: In response to the many ARs of southern persuasion, I acknowledge that some prefer to call the conflict of 1861 to 1865 “The War of Northern Aggression.” Point duly made.

In particular response to the AR who wrote, “NO Southerner would use such poor grammar, nor would they employ the oxymoron ‘Civil War,’” I would say simply that good grammar involves the use of pronouns that agree with their antecedents.  “Southerner” is a singular noun. “They” is a plural pronoun.