In the latest firestorm to hit the Craft Beer world, Ballast Point Brewing Company, has found itself caught in a war between Anti-Trump Activists and Paul Ryan. Activist group Revolution League took issue with Ballast Point when it was revealed that, it's parent company, Constellation Brands, donated $25,000 to Ryan through it's PAC. Revolution League blasted Constellation for contributing to Ryan's campaign despite "Knowing Paul Ryan’s desire to endanger senior citizens, children, retirees, the poor, and people with pre-existing health conditions".
Ballast Point was chosen as the target of the boycott due to the fact that Constellation acquired the brand recently for a cool Billion Dollars and has yet to recoup their money for the investment. The idea being that Ballast Point is a weak point in the Constellation portfolio and any boycott aimed at it would have the most effect on getting Constellation's attention.
Initially the boycott was limited to the Chicago area with the goal of driving the beer out of the city entirely. Over the weekend, however, twitter and Facebook became flooded with the #dontdrinkballast hashtag as people all over the nation declared their support for the ban.
A search of Opensecrets.org, a lobbying database, shows that while Constellation does donate heavily to the Republican party they do donate regularly to the Democrat Party as well. Their donations appear to be in line with whoever is in power at the time with money going towards a variety of politicians over the last few years.
According to, industry blog, Good Beer Hunting; A Ballast Point spokesman said “While our parent company, Constellation, does have a PAC that contributes to candidates on both sides of the aisle, it does so only in the interest of policy issues directly related to the beverage alcohol industry,” he elaborated. “The PAC's primary goal is to educate lawmakers on the benefits of our industry as a whole—creating jobs and contributing to our economy.”
in addition Kris White, a communications manager with Ballast Point, provided the following statement to City Pages:
"We absolutely understand the concern. Ballast Point does not support Paul Ryan, nor the healthcare bill. While our parent company, Constellation, does have a PAC that contributes to candidates on both sides of the aisle, it does so only in the interest of policy issues directly related to the beverage alcohol industry. The PAC's primary goal is to educate lawmakers on the benefits of our industry as a whole -- creating jobs and contributing to our economy. That said, Ballast Point has no direct involvement or input into the actions of Constellation's PAC. Please know that our only goal as Ballast Point is to brew great beer and provide for our employees and our customers."
Activists however are unimpressed replying “I’m really sorry they don’t have input to where the money goes, We see it as a black and white issue.”
The boycott also brings to light a interesting questions. Are individual breweries and brands now the front line targets for the political decisions of their Parent Corporations? As smaller breweries get snapped up left and right are they stepping into a larger war between forces well beyond their control? Will companies in the future be forced to cater exclusively to one political faction or another? Tell us in the comments what you think about this boycott and it's impact.