The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. While visitors to Las Vegas often rely on this axiom while frolicking on The Strip, the protective shield of omerta isn’t 100% effective, as Britain’s Prince Harry recently learned to his chagrin. The same, painful lesson was also learned by officials from the General Services Administration (GSA) when details of their government-funded revelry in Las Vegas were made public. As some alert readers (ARs) will recall, the scandal involved an over-the-top conference in 2010 that provoked widespread public outrage. Unfortunately, what happened in Vegas in this instance didn’t stay there and ended up having negative economic consequences in St. Louis.
Two years after the Las Vegas debacle, officials with the GSA decided to cancel another conference scheduled to be held in St. Louis in August of 2012. Presumably they wanted to avoid a reprise of the embarrassing publicity that had accompanied the Las Vegas event. For some reason these officials waited until the last minute before canceling the conference in St. Louis, thereby guaranteeing that the hotel rooms and conference facilities couldn’t be sold to anyone else. According to some estimates, the city lost about six million dollars as a result of this late cancellation.
In the face of this blow to the city’s convention and tourism business, I’m pleased to report that the Georgetown University class of 1970 is doing its part to offset the damage inflicted by the GSA. We’re having a mini-reunion in St. Louis over the weekend of September 21-23.
Those were interesting times in September of 1966, when I arrived on the Georgetown campus as a 17-year-old freshman. Spiro Agnew was running for governor of nearby Maryland as the comparatively liberal candidate against George Mahoney, an avowed segregationist. This was the same Spiro who would later become Richard Nixon’s vice president, known for coining such rhetorical gems as “pusillanimous pussyfooting” and “nattering nabobs of negativism.” A year and a half later, during the second semester of my sophomore year, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and Washington erupted in riots. From the roof of my dormitory one could see the city in flames, as it was when the British had burned it during the War of 1812. During my undergraduate days the campus hosted musicians as varied as Spanish cellist Pablo Casals and the British rock group The Who, whose song “My Generation” had become a virtual anthem for my class’ generation.
Like most other classes, my class has reassembled at five year intervals for reunions on campus. At our 30th reunion in 2000 some of my classmates began asking, “When can we see this brewery you keep talking about?” The answer was obvious, “Whenever you come to St. Louis.” And so it was that my class had a 32 ½ year reunion in St. Louis in September of 2002. We were the first Georgetown class ever to hold a reunion outside Washington, DC and the first to hold one outside the usual five year cycle.
I’m proud to say that St. Louis made a great impression on my fellow Hoyas, who flew in from four different time zones. Many were first-time visitors to the city and were stunned to find this amazing gem in the middle of “flyover country.” Ten years later the clamor arose again. My bicoastal classmates wanted to come back to St. Louis. Ulrike and I are happy to oblige them with another mini-reunion 42 ½ years after our graduation.
Those who arrive early will be encouraged to attend the Taste of Haiti fundraiser at The Tap Room to benefit a hospital in Milot, Haiti on whose board I’ve been privileged to serve for many years. I’m also planning to do a bus tour, comparable to one I did in 2002, this time featuring a preview of the St. Louis Public Library (scheduled to reopen in December); Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis (for a good photo opp with the St. Louis skyline in the background); Bellefontaine Cemetery (final resting place of many St. Louis luminaries); and Schlafly Bottleworks (which wasn’t open the last time these folks were in town). Saturday evening will feature a performance by the Courthouse Steps at The Tap Room. Over the course of the weekend my classmates will enjoy three distinctive examples of St. Louis cuisine not available in most parts of the country: Pi Pizza, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and Schlafly Beer.
Speaking of Schlafly Beer, I recently learned from an AR named Harriet Entin that membership in the Schlafly Fan Club is not limited to humans. Harriet reports that her Quarter Horse named Shadow loves our Oatmeal Stout, which was prescribed by his veterinarian to prevent anhidrosis. Now, whenever Shadow hears Harriet pop open a bottle of Schlafly Stout, he starts whinnying insistently and banging on the stall, telling her to hurry up. Anticipating the inevitable question from those concerned about underage drinking, I want to assure all ARs that Shadow is 29 ½ years old, well over the legal drinking age.
Given the demonstrably salutary effects of Schlafly Beer, one wonders whether the Affordable Care Act should have included a “beer mandate.” Maybe the federal government should provide beer for both humans and horses. It would certainly be a better use of our tax dollars than GSA junkets to Las Vegas.