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Louisiana universities allowed to continue selling college-affiliated beers

By Jonathan Rhodes
On June 13, 2017

State lawmakers have agreed to allow universities to sell their affiliated beers despite a ban proposal. File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Louisiana lawmakers recently ditched a ban proposed by Caddo Parish Representative Cedric B. Glover to the House Committee on Education and the Workplace to get rid of college-affiliated or sponsored beers for all Louisiana schools. 

The ban was shelved after it met some opposition and after Glover was convinced that a conversation on the subject has started. He is worried about how university endorsed alcohol will increase binge drinking and alcohol abuse.

University leaders stated that branding beer is one way that they fill up budget gaps after millions of dollars have been defunded from higher education. Schools that have such branding deals are Louisiana State University with Tin Roof Brewing Company’s Bayou Bengal Lager and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with Bayou Teche Brewing for Ragin’ CajunsTM Genuine Louisiana Ale.

Owner of Blackened Brew Anthony Donze believes that there is nothing wrong with Louisiana colleges endorsing beer and that it will not increase irresponsible drinking.

“You have college kids who are 21 and up,” said Donze. “It is such a big part of the community, like Gnarly Barley is a big part of the Hammond community and Tin Roof is a big part of the Baton Rouge community. I don’t know how much money it produces for education, but it has to be a decent amount. Alcohol will always be a part of college. You can’t always look at it as a bad thing. You have to find the good in something and use it for the best even if that means using a brewery and co-oping with them to make beer. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

Representative Chris Broadwater made a point in a “U.S. News” article that not giving the universities every opportunity they can get to generate money could “Do harm to the youth of our state.” He also stated that it would be ironic if lawmakers made it legal for LSU and Southern University to grow medical marijuana, which is illegal, and “Prohibit them from profiting off of something that is legal.”

“The breweries are not stupid, and the schools are not stupid,” said Donze. “They aren’t going to promote beer to underage kids. In this day and age, if an underage kid wants to get alcohol, they will get alcohol. If the school uses it for the betterment of the students and to help make school affordable, then I don’t see anything wrong with it.”  

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