Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who Is Hoosiers for Beverage Choices?

Ahh, the perennial topic -- Sunday retail alcohol and cold beer sales. Mark Finch over at the Wine Canine has been out in front on this topic and I was going to stay out of the fray, but when people start promoting Hoosiers for Beverage Choices, I just can't stop myself.

I'm all for grass roots efforts, but a lot of folks are giving Hoosiers for Beverage Choices more credit than they deserve. HBC is the group trying to muster citizen support for changing the Sunday sales laws using lots of viral marketing and an online petition. Even better for them, they're getting plugs on television and in newspaper editorials. The results are PR money well spent. Why? Because thanks to Finch's sleuthing that's exactly what HBC is -- a PR effort funding by lobbyists. From Wine Canine:

Hoosiers for Beverage Choices has the support of the Indiana Retail Council, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association and the Indiana Petroleum Council. HBC's domain name is registered to The Corydon Group, which counts Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart and the Indiana Township Association among its clients.
Hey, I'm all for the ability to get rid of some of our antiquated blue laws, but I only think it's appropriate that if you're touting HBC's petition all over the interwebs, you know who you're really supporting. It's completely OK to be in favor of Sunday sales (yea, cold beer!) but you should also know that HBC is a well-funded and savvy PR effort targeting consumers to influence the legislature at the behest of the convenience store and grocery industry. Grass roots? Sure. But a scrappy little group of progressive consumers who want to change the state? Not so much.

More on who's lobbying on both sides of this issue at Wine Canine.


DMC said...

Wasn't it obvious that it is a lobbying group, even without the investigation?

Anyway, they're doing Jeebus's work.

braingirl said...

*I* thought it was obvious, but I've been seeing bloggers and the media covering them like it's a folksy little grass roots effort. Just thought everyone should know who they're shilling for.

Ally said...

Hey Braingirl - sorry to go off topic but my husband is heading to San Fran next week for a big work deal. He wants to take his team of 3 to a good dinner while there. Although I was born and raised in the Bay Area I haven't lived there for (ahem) 20-some years and the restaurant biz has changed just a smidge since then! Do you have any recommendations? He is looking to spend about $100/person.

Also, there is a chance of a day trip to Napa. If they have their choice of 1 winery to visit which do you think they should hit?

Anonymous said...

Great! That means they might actually have a chance at succeeding! A group of scrappy, dedicated, private citizens would be absolutely DOA as far as the legislature is concerned on this issue.

Derek said...

HBC is making no attempt to hide who they are. Under the “About Us” tab, they specifically say that “trade associations such as the Indiana Petroleum Council, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, and the Indiana Retail Council support this coalition.” They are more forthcoming that many other similar efforts that I have seen.

And above it all, they are simply providing an avenue for the average Hoosier to share his or her support by signing the online petition. Sure, HBC has set-up the website, but the 10,000+ Hoosiers that have signed up are the ones driving the train.