I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about unions and other labor issues. I also spend a reasonable amount of time drinking with my friends, particularly on weekends, and especially on holiday weekends. When combined these activities lend themselves to speculation about which of the beverages I consume are union made. The answer: a surprising number of them! So, in honor of the July Fourth weekend I’ve thoughtfully compiled a list of economically just — and mostly cheap beverages — for all your holiday drinking needs.
To my knowledge, there are three major unions in the world of alcoholic beverages.
- The United Autoworkers (UAW). Highly ironic.
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
- The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Unsurprising.
The number of union made alcoholic beverages is quite extensive so I won’t attempt to list them all here. If you’d like to do more research on your own, check out UFCW’s home page. The rest of the info comes from this bizarre little website, masterminded by an International Association of Machinists member and a contributor to the far-right website WorldNet Daily. Contrary to the bird’s eye view of unionism, there are a fair number of committed conservatives in the labor movement’s rank and file.
The big surprise here is Budweiser. I’d always assumed Bud was too Red State America to be union and they also don’t feature the “Union Made” label, unlike Miller products or the Miller-brewed PBR. But it turns out Bud and Bud Light are manufactured by hard-working union members.
Good news for socially-conscious bourbon drinkers too. Almost every bourbon I’ve ever tasted has an organized workforce behind it: Knob Creek, Jim Beam, Windsor, Wild Turkey, Ancient Age, Evan Williams, Kentucky Gentleman, Old Crow, Old Fitz; the list is nearly endless. Only Jack Daniels and Makers Mark are noticeably absent. Let the Mint Juleps flow!
For gin, Seagram’s and Gilbey’s are on the level.
If you want Tequila, scrap your ideals. I’ve never even heard of Herradura Tequila, one of the few on union-made lists. That can’t be a good sign.
What ever you do, steer clear of Coors or Coors-made products (including Blue Moon). As Annika Carlson described a couple years back, they’re just plain evil when it comes to workers’ rights. The Coors family even had a hand in founding the Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative, and most ridiculous think tanks in Washington, D.C.
Granted, there was a Coors/Miller merger in 2007, which hasn’t yet made clear which products are union-made and which aren’t. Still, it can’t hurt to look for the “Union Made” label on the can.
Jake Blumgart has been a staff writer for Campus Progress. He is a writer and blogger for Seattle’s alternative weekly The Stranger and other publications. His musing on beer is published here with his permission..