Friday, July 10, 2009

Exit to ale ... and so it goes

There's an AP story on the wires and Internet in which MADD gets annoyed at Flying Fish's Exit Series.

Nothing truly new in this, unless you're looking for a release date for the hoppy American wheat ale that will be Exit 11 (it's July 15th, and alas a media event to kick things off is being held in Philadelphia that day, not New Jersey. Sort of flies in the face of the talked-up homage to Jerseyana. But then, Philadelphia is, was and probably always will be a top market for Flying Fish, so there's that to consider). And when we say "nothing new," we mean the very same argument/gripe trotted out in June is being recycled a mere month later. Who cares if it's coming from a different mouth this time?

If you read The Associated Press story, you get the impression that Mothers Against Drunk Driving was contacted for comment (a completely logical thing to do as far as news reporting goes; and honestly, where was MADD a month ago when the chance to grouse about this was on the front burner?), as opposed to MADD getting out its long knives to fillet the Fish with a protest, à la a news conference at the start of a major travel holiday (such as last week's Fourth of July celebrations), something the organization is known to do. Not that we're advocating MADD tee off on a brewery; hardly, since we think MADD, nationally, has become a temperance league – as in all beer, liquor and wine are bad or lead to trouble – and especially since we thought the New Jersey Turnpike Authority needed to lighten up when it was getting fussy last month over this. But it is curious that the freshest news release on the Web site for the New Jersey chapter of MADD is dated 2006. The Exit Series gripe isn't even mentioned on MADD-NJ.

And, if you ask us, The Star-Ledger's headline on the story sort of oversells things. MADD gets second fiddle following some more of the Turnpike Authority frowning and resignation at Flying Fish's First Amendment rights (which the Exit Series wholly is). The balance of the story, aside from more rebuttal from FF, is about the beer series, not about how MADD intends to get madder over this. A mild slam, it would seem.

This item made WCBS radio in New York this afternoon, with audio comment from MADD folks (in which they did indeed slam FF, saying they were "appalled") coupled with some renewed deflection from Gene Muller at Flying Fish in Cherry Hill (he has proffered once before that drinking and driving are an unthinkable combination, something anyone could guess). But oddly enough, WCBS did this same story three weeks ago – after Channel 4 in New York did a take on the Turnpike folks having a conniption, after the TollroadsNews Web site broke the story (if you want to call it that). In CBS' report back then, the station spoke to Gene, but never went after the MADD angle. Hmmm.

And now a news day in the slow lane once again today.

And so it goes ...

PS: One thing about the Exit Series that does come to mind these seven months into FF's program for 2009 and as far as keeping beer denizens far and wide interested: 18 exits, 3 beers a year = 6 years of taking exits. The turnpike's a long road, indeed. Maybe the US Mint has some tips after 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, 52 quarters and 10 years.

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