The makers of Sam Adams beer on Friday announced they are backing out of sponsoring South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in protest over parade organizers' refusal to allow members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to march in the parade.
“We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade,” The Boston Beer Company said in a statement. “But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible. We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade.”
This week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh attempted to negotiate a compromise with parade organizers, which would allow a gay veterans group to march in the parade. The parade, which takes place on March 16, is organized by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.
Walsh has said he will boycott the parade if LGBT groups are not allowed to participate, following a similar move by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Boston Beer Company is currently tied with Yuengling as the top-selling U.S.-based brewing company. (Other, larger, beer manufacturers, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, are based outside the U.S.)
The brewery was facing criticism after a local restaurant said it would no longer serve Sam Adams because of the beer manufacturer’s perceived ties to parade organizers.
Parade organizers said to CBS Boston, “... they presented only one supposed Veteran and a group of others carrying rainbow flags. When asked about a Color Guard, their (lone) Veteran replied that he wasn’t sure he could supply any more Veterans willing to march.”
But even before the permit was rescinded, the group was saying the LGBT group could participate only as long as it did not include the word “gay” in any of its materials or clothing.