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What Your Beer Says About Your Politics What Your Beer Says About Your Politics

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Politics

What Your Beer Says About Your Politics

In this March 28, 2012 file photo, a truck driver delivers Heineken beer and other drinks in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

September 27, 2012
Last week, beer poured into presidential politics in an unprecedented way when the beverage's most famous personality - the Most Interesting Man in the World - hosted an Obama fundraiser. You've likely seen him in ads for Mexican beer Dos Equis. His real name is Jonathan Goldsmith. Some Dos Equis fans were not happy about the fundraiser and expressed their displeasure on the beer's Facebook page, according to Ad Age. "Mr. Goldsmith's opinions and views are strictly his own, and do not represent those of Dos Equis," said Heineken USA, which imports Dos Equis, in a statement seeking to head off political blow-back. Clearly, the Most Interesting Man in the World, who "once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels," has created an awkward moment for the brewing company. Should Heineken be worried about damage to one of its flagship brands? (RELATED: What Your Favorite Beer Says About Your Politics) Based on the partisanship of beer drinkers, they are wise to be in damage control mode. We've analyzed Scarborough Research data, which includes 200,000 interviews with American adults, to determine the politics of beer drinkers. As the bubble chart shows, Dos Equis is a bipartisan brew - Republicans and Democrats both like to drink it. So Mr. Goldsmith's public foray into the 2012 race could alienate a large share of Dos Equis fans. Ironically, this is in contrast to its corporate sister Heineken, which as it turns out is the most Democratic beer of all. On the other hand, Republicans love their Coors Light and favor Sam Adams, which is brewed just a few miles away from Romney campaign headquarters and whose namesake was an original tea partier. Dos Equis is not the first - and won't be the last - brand to find itself in a political pickle. From Chick-fil-A to Susan G. Komen to the pizza owner who recently hugged the president, the fallout depends on media coverage, the brand's response, and the political values of its customers. We continue to advise big brands - who spend millions on consumer research - to make the investment to know where their fans stand politically and to put in safeguards to mitigate a political firestorm. That being said, the best advice we can give: Stay nonpartisan, my friends. Will Feltus is the Senior Vice President for media research and planning at National Media in Alexandria, Virginia. Mike Shannon is a partner at the consulting firm Vianovo in Austin, Texas.
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