Don's Blog: Former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter Rises From Grave, Apologizes For Banning Imported Beer On Draft

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter Rises From Grave, Apologizes For Banning Imported Beer On Draft

From 1987 to 1995, in bars serving fine beers across Tennessee, bartenders and customers alike cursed the name of then-Governor Ned McWherter for his sly efforts, quite effective at the time, to ban the sale of imported beers on draft. McWherter was the owner of a Budweiser distributorship, and like Budweiser nationally, wanted to stifle competition (Budweiser was well known for opposing small brewpubs in Missouri, its home state). McWherter's slyness came in stiff regulation of the size of the kegs, which had the effect of prohibiting the sale of the imported products, whose beer kegs were slightly different in size from the American products.

Last week, McWherter, who weighed close to 400 pounds as Governor, launched himself into orbit and appeared over Tennessee, stunning news reporters who had known him well, as he had died in 2011. Asked why he had returned, McWherter said that he had been refused "permission to enter" until he had fully confessed his offense.

"It is true what they said about me," he said sheepishly to the assembled group. "All those bartenders. I was a crony capitalist, using government to stifle competition and benefit my family business. That was and is how Tennessee works. We're good ole boys; we do things like that. I knew we didn't have enough imported beer drinkers here to raise a fuss. At the time, drinking a British beer was more shameful than being gay in Tennessee. The choices were Bud and Bud Light; that had been good enough for our fathers and grandfathers. Now I see maybe I should have been more forward-thinking. If I could have just done it without losing sales in the business..."

Asked if he thought it strange that imported beer on draft was banned at a time when Nashville had the world's largest adult bookstore, and houses of prostitution operated openly, McWherter shook his head. "I wasn't in any of those businesses. It was a business decision, not a moral one. I don't tell folks what they can do in their private lives. But drinking beer in a bar is public activity."

Questioned as to whether he now believed that he would secure "permission to enter," he nodded thoughtfully. "I do, I really do. Those fellows really like Newcastle Brown Ale...And they like Latin phrases, and here I am doing a mea culpa."

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