In Denzel Washington’s new movie, Flight, he plays an alcoholic airline pilot, and in order to increase the film’s realism, the director decided to show his character drinking actual alcohol. Right. I mean if we can have photorealistic dinosaurs in Jurassic Park then surely we can have Denzel Washington drinking a beer. The technology has finally caught up with the vision. But now the alcohol is mad about it! Oh no! Alcohol, are you OK?! From Deadline:

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch has reportedly asked Paramount to obscure all images of its flagship beer in the Robert Zemeckis movie Flight. In the drama, Denzel Washington plays an airline pilot accused of drinking before captaining a plane. It includes scenes showing Washington consuming alcoholic beverages, including Budweiser and assorted vodka brands. The well-reviewed film opened #2 this weekend with $25M. Now, according to wire reports, Budweiser VP Robert McCarthy has penned a letter to Zemeckis’ Image Movers and to Paramount saying Anheuser-Busch had “no knowledge of the use or portrayal of Budweiser” before or during the film’s production and were not contacted by the studio. “We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving. It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner,” McCarthy said in the letter.

Hey, Budweiser, guess what?

You make alcohol, the preferred beverage of alcoholics. Not only that, but you make high volume amounts of alcohol and your entire business model is built on an exponential rate of growth and consumption. It is in your interest that people drink massive amounts of your product, which is why you market it heavily to college students and lower income households. On top of that you have tried to position yourselves as America’s beer. Fair enough. But guess what: PEOPLE DO SOME SHITTY THINGS IN AMERICA. Like, all the time. Most of what people do here sucks, to be completely honest, we all hate it and we complain to our friends about all of it constantly. Obviously, I understand the difficult position you have been put in by having your product prominently displayed in a dangerous and unflattering light but let me take a wild shot in the dark and guess that the appearance of Budweiser in the movie Flight did not affect Budweiser sales even a tiny little bit. No one was like “I’m not touching Budweiser no more, Denzel Washington is a complicated anti-hero!” Relax. Why don’t you spend less time writing whiny open letters to movie studios about the one-off instance of negative product placement and put that energy into making your beer not be disgusting. In conclusion, shut up, Budweiser, you stupid bitch.

Comments (27)
  1. Gabe, the Budweiser guy had to do the letter to satisfy stockholders and his board of directors. And to provide a publicized stance in case there are any lawsuits stemming from the movie. It’s all politics these days.

    • So then it’s because Denzel is black!?!?!?!?!


    • On election day, this letter is a move designed to distract us from their platform, which for decades has favored the reestablishment of the monarchy.

      Sam Adams 2012.

    • It’s not only shareholder politics, it’s also about negative press and professional responsibility. We know that some people drink and drive, and that probably some of the people who drink and drive had been drinking Budweiser. BUT it is 100% fair of a company, any company at all no matter how often their product is associated with poor behviour, to not want to have their product specifically associated very publicly with something as awful as drunk driving. I do not drink this specific beer, but I like to think that alcohol companies are not horrible monsters who don’t actually care about drunk driving, because I would like to continue buying alcohol with a clear(ish) conscience.

  2. I think their real concern is that no one as respectable as a pilot would ever drink Budweiser.

  3. I’m just surprised anyone drinks Budwiser*

    *I’m a Hamms girl, obviously.

    • Whenever I’m faced with a truly boring beer menu (like, say, Bud, Coors, Heineken, or Guinness) I happily pick Bud. It’s not bad, really. (Note: we do not have Hamms.)

      My aversion to Bud as hopelessly uncool was changed when they were serving it at Momofuku alongside a few obscure craft beers. I asked the server which he preferred, and he said “I like the Bud, honestly.” And it was a great fuckin’ meal. (Note: they no longer serve Bud, for some reason. Perhaps the kickback from Anheiser-Busch ran out.)

      (Note: I know you don’t care. I am just sayin’.)

  4. So weird Gabe, after I saw the movie I said to myself “I’m not touching Budweiser no more, Denzel Washington is a complicated anti-hero!”

  5. And really, the fact that he drinks Bud reinforces their image as the category leader. They’ve spent decades trying to position themselves as the obvious go-to for American beer drinkers, and it’s worked so well that OF COURSE the alcoholic pilot drinks Bud because that’s the beer the audience would expect him to drink in any event because America.

  6. Budweiser shouldn’t be complaining; Denzel Washington isn’t, and he’s the one who actually had to drink the Budweiser.

  7. A real alcoholic doesn’t waste their time with beer – it barely even counts as drinking. As a guy from Norway once told me: “In my country, we say beer is like food”.

  8. Getting an all-caps response from Gabe is almost as good as making it to Monster’s Ball!

  9. Budweiser uses rice to make their beer, which is gross because there are only supposed to be 4 ingredients in beer (barley, hops, water, yeast). I’m sure other cheap beers do this, but I judge bud for doing it more.

    Cheap beers of choice (in order): high life, pbr, schlitz, hamm’s, walgreens brand.

  10. Walgreen’s has its own brand of beer?

  11. COORS LIGHT 2012

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