HARDBARNED! The Blog

Douchebag of Beers

America loves Bud Light. According to Food & Beverage (the food service industry publication), the King of Domestic Swill has retained its crown as the best selling beer in the United States since 2001, when it narrowly edged out its closest competitor...Budweiser.

Bud Light was even the best selling beer in the entire WORLD until a couple years ago, when a Chinese beer called Snow took over and bumped it into second place worldwide, but Bud Light is not worried.

Currently funneling a staggering 16 percent of total U.S. beer sales, a seemingly insurmountable lead over any beers that deserve to actually be called beers, Bud Light appears completely unfazed by the surge in domestic craft brewing, brewpubs, and any pittance of American interest in real beer with real flavor, body, craftsmanship or character.

Yes, Bud Light sucks, but how about a new title for the most popular "beer" in America: Douchebag of Beers. Why? Well, if there's a douchebag around acting douchey, chances are he's chugging a Bud Light, and he'll probably throw the empty bottle or can on the ground too.

Many apologies to all of you well-behaved, socially conscious, kind and observant quaffers of this crap; I know you are out there and just don't know any better. You're like the guy at the wine store who keeps buying boxes of Franzia because you are afraid of what's in the bottles. I feel your pain. It's easier to stick with what you know. I almost always get Beef & Broccoli when ordering Chinese takeout.

You know what you like, but someday you might realize that compared to real Asian food, Americanized Beef & Broccoli sucks, and real wine with real flavor made from real grapes doesn't come in a box. Maybe. One could argue that the staggering ubiquity of Bud Light automatically makes it the most likely candidate for this title, but douchebags drink all kinds of beers, even delicious, authentic, mom-and-pop craft brews.

Drinking better beer does not make you cooler, nicer, more compassionate, a better friend, generally more awesome, less of a douchebag or more environmentally conscious, but it could be argued that those who actually are any of these things are often interested in beers other than Bud Light, couldn't it?

Maybe, maybe not. And what is "better" anyway, other than a subjective adjective representing nothing more than my opinion, and everybody has one. I'm sure there are plenty of fine folks who genuinely enjoy Bud Light. People do drink Blue Moon, and even Leinenkugel's Blueberry Wheat, for some reason. 

However, like any dubious, ill-advised adventure in generalization, beer snobbery has its pitfalls. I prefer craft beers but sometimes enjoy cheap swill. It's often easier to drink many of them on a hot summer day, and I can see why people do, but Bud Light, aside from being generally disgusting, has burned a shining ember of rage into my consciousness that cannot be extinguished, and I Will Not Drink It.

Why? Other than the terrible taste, it's got to be the litter. There is of course no scientific study to refer to, but it seems as though everywhere I go, there is Bud Light. It is empty, and it is trash.

I live in the city, and it is on the sidewalks, left as decoration after a party. It is in the gutter, tossed out a car window and smashed. It is on front lawns, a smattering of blazing blue shiny bits, bragging rights for frat boys long since passed out.

I often retreat to the country for hiking, camping and canoeing; Bud Light is there too, and you can't miss it. There is nothing quantifiable about my estimations, but I would postulate that seven or eight of every 10 empty beer bottles and cans left on the side of the river, on the bottom of the lake, at a campsite, in the middle of the street--well, at least those that I encounter--are Bud Light-branded cans and bottles and cardboard cases and bottlecaps.

Yesterday, other than the endless riverbanks littered with Bud Light refuse and flaming sacks of abandoned garbage left to smolder at various campsites I paddled past in a canoe, I even saw a Bud Light-branded beer coozie floating along in the river, and a young lass with a Bud Light hat.

Could it be that Bud Light is inherently litter...that it has a natural inclination to be born as litter, consumed as litter, and to move into its next phase of "life" as litter? Can we apply behavioral psychology to the progression of Bud Light from massive brew factory to distribution center to retail location to its natural resting place on the bottom of the river or gutter of the city? Probably not.

But what does it mean when the best-selling beer in America and nearly the entire world is also the Titan of Trash, the Douchebag of Beers, the Undisputed Champion of Crap?

We already know that Americans produce a disgustingly absurd amount of garbage, that we drink by far the most of the worst beer available, and that we throw it out the window or off the side of the boat or onto the street or in the backyard or the park or wherever we feel like it when we're through guzzling it, as we need a free hand to beat our wives or our dogs or our kids, right?

I just think it's sad. I have no answer to the "what does it mean" question. Neither does the double-rainbow guy. Sorry about that.

Post-script: The always brilliant John Oliver apparently agrees with my conclusions. You cannot miss this video: