Dann Paquette, one of the co-founders of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project in Somerville, went on a Twitter rant last night alleging that a number of breweries and bars, including Bukowski Tavern in Cambridge and Boston and Lower Depths in Kenmore, are engaged in illegal “pay to play” policies that freeze out local craft breweries.
For those who don’t know, “pay to play” refers to the practice of breweries or distributors offering off-the-book bribes to bars for stocking their beer. The practice is prohibited by federal law, but according to Paquette, it’s standard practice in Boston, and fear of losing business has kept many local breweries silent. We’ve collected some of Paquette’s tweets below.
Hopefully Paquette’s call to arms will inspire other breweries to speak out, but until then, consumers should show their support by contacting local legislators about the issue and refusing to patronize any bars confirmed to be complicit in these practices. Bribes force small breweries to raise their prices, hurting consumers as well. Great local breweries making delicious craft beer deserve to have their malty concoctions enjoyed by every beer-loving Bostonian, not just those who drink at certain bars.
UPDATE: Gordon Wilcox of the Wilcox Hospitality Group, which owns Bukowski, Lower Depths and a number of other Boston bars, responded to Paquette’s accusations in an open letter, claiming Pretty Things offers “not so pretty prices” and saying, “I personally don’t even know you, never asked you for a damn thing, never intend to ask you for a damn thing and will not serve your inferior product.”
UPDATE TWO: From a Gordon Wilcox spokesperson: “Gordon Wilcox refutes everything from Dann’s foolish, drunken tirade.”
[h/t Beer Advocate]