The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
News organizations from all over the world covered the birth of Prince George of Cambridge on July 22, 2013. As the eldest son of Prince William, the little prince moved into third place in the line of succession for the British throne. As far as I know, no one has questioned his paternity or his right to become king at some point in the future.
Such was not the case when little George’s Uncle Harry was born in September of 1984. As is now widely known, Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, had had a passionate affair with Major James Hewitt of the British Army. Because Harry, like Major Hewitt, has red hair; and because of Diana’s admitted infidelity, there were suspicions in the royal family that Harry might not be the biological son of Diana’s husband, Prince Charles. In order to assuage the skeptics, Diana and her two sons all submitted to DNA tests, which confirmed that Charles was indeed the father of the two boys, meaning that both of them were eligible to be crowned as king.
Even though Americans fought a revolution to free themselves from monarchic rule, our founding fathers adopted a constitution that—-like the protectors of the British monarchy— imposed qualifications for leadership based on circumstances of birth. According to Article II, Section 1 of the U. S. Constitution, “No person except a natural born Citizen…of the United States… shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Five years after Barack Obama was elected president, some Americans are still questioning his eligibility to hold the office. Like our British friends who wanted to be positive that Charles was the father of William and Harry, these so-called “birthers” are still demanding positive proof that the 44th president of the United States is in fact a “natural born citizen.”
Beer drinkers also have inquiring minds that want to know. In order to satisfy this inquisitive spirit, the King of Beers has introduced an app that allows consumers to “track your [beer].” In promoting this app the King has aired commercials posing the questions “Do you know who brewed your beer?” and “Do you know where your beer is brewed?” The app also tells users their particular beer’s “born on date,” in essence providing them with a kind of virtual birth certificate, analogous to what birthers have been demanding from their president for the past five years.
As informative as this app is, there are still some questions it doesn’t answer: “Do you know who pays the salary of the brewmaster who brewed your beer?” “Do you know who owns the brewery where your beer was brewed?” Birth certificates typically list the names of parents. Doesn’t it make sense for labels and advertisements to identify the corporate parents of the brands we’re buying or being asked to buy? In the words of a popular song, “Who’s your daddy?” Or, as Pete Townshend of the Who sang so memorably back in 1978, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”
Anyone who has ever filled out an application for any purpose knows that most of them ask if the applicant has ever used any aliases. If so, it’s required to list them. Having personally filled out myriad applications for innumerable reasons, I have no problem with being asked about aliases. Granted, one reason I don’t have a problem is that I’ve never used an alias. Nevertheless, it’s easy to understand why employers want to know whom they’re hiring; why banks want to know who’s borrowing from them; why departments of motor vehicles want to know who’s getting a driver’s license; why the federal government wants to know who’s getting a passport etc.
In the universe of craft beer there appear to be two types of breweries: those that are forthcoming about the identities of their corporate parents and don’t use aliases; and those that hide behind aliases without revealing the names of their corporate parents. The fact that some breweries spend millions of dollars to create brands and distance them from the corporate parents raises an obvious question: What are they so ashamed of? Why do they go to such lengths to create a pseudo-craft brand and give the impression that it’s unrelated to the multinational conglomerate that owns and controls it?
Most applications, in addition to requiring information about aliases and parents, also ask about nationality. Schlafly, like most craft breweries, is a “natural born citizen of the United States.” There was a time when most of the large breweries in the United States were also “natural born citizens.” Most of them, however, in effect renounced their American citizenship when they were sold to foreign conglomerates. Interestingly, one of these breweries has recently been running an ad capitalizing on its association with baseball by proclaiming, “There’s nothing more American than watching America’s game with America’s beer.” I couldn’t agree more.
Schlafly is a natural born citizen that has maintained its American citizenship ever since the company was incorporated in 1989. We sold our first glass of beer two years later in December of 1991, meaning the first baby conceived by parents under the influence of Schlafly Beer has now reached the legal drinking age of 21. As I mentioned in this space earlier this year, we would like to identify this individual. We still don’t know who he or she is. When we think we have found the person, we won’t require DNA testing (as was required of Prince Harry) or an original copy of a birth certificate (as some demand of President Obama). A parental version of what transpired in December of 1991 or January of 1992 will be sufficient.