By Victor Ochieng
The U.S. presidential elections are around the corner and voters can’t wait to cast their votes. One characteristic of this election season is that voters are seriously divided. In fact, both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees enjoy some significant level of fanatic-like support that their opponents cannot eat into.
With such an environment, a businessperson must be careful not to offend either side. It’s a risky time for any businessperson to endorse either candidate, since you don’t know how the other faction might react.
One business that has acted with questionable foresight is D.G. Yuengling & Sons, one of the oldest American brewers.
The owner of the brewery declared the company’s support for Trump during a visit by Trump’s son Eric Trump. The younger Trump had a message for the company when he made a stop on Monday at D.G. Yuengling & Sons in Pottsville. He said hardworking family businesses such as Yuengling would do amazingly well under his father’s reign.
In his response, the 73-year-old owner of the brewery, Richard “Dick” Yuengling Jr., said, “Our guys are behind your father,” adding that “we need him in there.”
The statement didn’t go down well with some of the company’s customers. On Wednesday, many customers took to social media to denounce the drink, with some going as far as vowing never to drink their beer again.
One Twitter user by the name Daniel Esposito said: “I was a lifelong Yuengling drinker I mean LIFE. LONG. Will never touch it again, consider it poison.” Another said, “Yuengling said they ‘need Trump,’ guess I’m drinking Brooklyn lager for the rest of my life.”
Even State Rep. Brian Sims, who represents a good area of Philadelphia, including the Center City, referred to himself as a former Yuengling customer. Through a Facebook post, he said: “GOOD BYE, Yuengling: I’m not normally one to call for boycotts but I absolutely believe that how we spend our dollars is a reflection of our votes and our values! Supporting Yuengling Brewery, that uses my dollars to bolster a man, and an agenda, that wants to punish me for being a member of the LGBT community and punish the Black and brown members of my community for not being white, is something I’m too smart and too grown up to do.” He signed it off as “a former customer of 17 years.”
People are taking the boycott seriously. One owner of a Washington D.C. bar posted a video of himself getting rid of a Yuengling beer tap, saying, “When people support things that don’t support us, then we don’t support them.”
When the company was reached for comment, they said they’re equally open to Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton visiting them, although they declined to comment further on the issue.